National Gallery of Art Presents the Yet Unseen Photographs by Veronika Šleivytė

2022 07 29 — 2022 10 16 at National Gallery of Art, Vilnius
Author Echo Gone Wrong
Published in Events in Lithuania

The exhibition Sometimes Vėra Looks Like That. Photographs by Veronika Šleivytė (1906–1998) will open at the National Gallery of Art on July 29, 2022 at 6 p.m.  Press conference will be held at 11 a.m. in the Auditorium of the National Gallery of Art. Participating: curators of the exhibition Milda Dainovskytė and Agnė Narušytė, painter Eglė Ridikaitė, director of the Kupiškis Ethnographic Museum Jūra Sigutė Jurėnienė, vice-director and the chief conservator Giedrė Zuozienė as well as the head of the National Gallery of Art Lolita Jablonskienė.

With her camera, Veronika Šleivytė explores both the world and herself. A different angle each time, a different light, a different composition, and the same person, the same fragment of space becomes a new work of art. This way, an abundance of shots accumulates. So many of them – over 250 originals and prints of yet unseen negatives from the artist’s archive – will be exhibited for the first time.

Veronika Šleivytė was born on December 6, 1906, in Antašava, Kupiškis District, grew up in the nearby Viktariškiai Village, lived and worked in Kaunas, died there on April 21, 1998, and was buried in the Antašava Cemetery. The photographs document her life between these two locations in Lithuania: her transformation from a daughter of landless peasants of the Russian Empire into an artist, the chairwoman of Lithuanian Women Artists’ Association in the temporary capital of the country that had regained its independence, and then into a weird Soviet artist who was only painting flowers.

Photographs by Šleivytė are interesting to us today both as her artistic heritage and as documents of her roles: a daughter, a sister, an artist, the public woman, an educator and a lover. The photographs recording Šleivytėʼs love relationships with women are a particularly important part of this exhibition as it creates the history of the LGBTQ+ community.

The artist had thoroughly ordered her archive and donated it to the Kupiškis Ethnographic Museum together with the letters from her friends and lovers, sketches, notes and paintings. By using all of this material, the curators have reconstructed Šleivytė’s life and tried to imagine what she was like. The image has been enriched not only by exhibiting some of the things she possessed, but also by the contemporary artist Eglė Ridikaitė (born in Kupiškis in 1966) who, especially for this exhibition, has created a painting interpreting a pattern found in Šleivytė’s photographs. The curators have also almost fully recreated Šleivytė’s display at the exhibition of the Lithuanian Photo Amateurs Union in 1933 by looking at its photographic documentation.

Šleivytė treated photography also as a means of communication. Having printed a photo as a postcard, she would write something on the back and send it to her family or friends. “Sometimes Vėra Looks Like That” is one of such inscriptions. It demonstrates the artist’s introspection and reminds us of the temporariness of all states of being, the freedom of mutability and that photographs are but appearances for which everything has been performed.

Curators of the exhibition: Milda Dainovskytė and Agnė Narušytė; architect: Vladas Suncovas; graphic designer: Eglė Ruibytė.

Organizers: Kupiškis Ethnographic Museum and National Gallery of Art at the Lithuanian National Museum of Art.

Partners: UAB Surikatos, Lithuanian Photographers Association.

The project is financed by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Kupiškis District Municipality.

Media sponsors:,

Sponsors: UAB „Kupiškėnų mintys“, Foto ProCentras.

The exhibition will be open at the National Gallery of Art until October 16, 2022.