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Janina Monkute – Marks Newest Tapestrys “8 SPRINGS, SUMMERS, AUTUMNS and WINTERS”

2009 May 15 @ 17:00 - 2009 September 1 @ 12:00

This exhibition “8 springs, summers, autumns and winters“ introduced Janina Monkute-Marks newest Tapestries.  Also everybody could take a glimpse at the small part of her international textile collection. Quilts, appliques, embroidery, throws and handmade clothing from various exotic countries were displayed at the museum.


There was a celebration in the museum again – just like during its opening day in 2001. The halls were decorated with Janina’s artworks. People who come to the exhibits more often have already seen the painting collection based on the symbolism of folk art, and a six-part cycle of tapestries, which speak about the difficult illness of Janina’s husband Ira Marks and his life until death. After that difficult period Janina decided to donate her artwork to Lithuania, and established the museum named after herself. She continued weaving; however, it can be noticed that the compositions of her new tapestries have become more complex, and the gamut of colors is becoming brighter. Janina has already got her own consistent style of creation which is constantly elaborated. Each tapestry tells a different story: it is like part of Janina’s biographical diary, which reveals her joys and hardships. Moreover, each artwork is full of symbolism. A white dove, which is a symbol of peace, reoccurs in Janina’s artworks. Each spectator finds new familiar and distinctive symbols in Janina’s tapestries. Just like our moods are either good or dismal, diary texts tell us about both good and bad news and experiences. The whole human life is a curve of rise and fall.

Not all of Janina’s tapestries are bright… We have already seen the artwork “Sanibel after the hurricane Charlie”, which was woven in 2005 and exposed at the Textile Biennial. The incoherent composition shows a lack of stability with dominating chaos and breaking trees. What is more, the colors are not bright either. Janina Monkute-Marks personally saw how Sanibel Island was devastated by the hurricane, and even her own house was damaged. And it is only one of the twenty stories told by Janina’s tapestries-diary pages. Janina leaves the spectator in uncertainty, without any preconceived notions so that he/she can find and accept the artwork as it is. The dominating colors of the new tapestries are the yellow color of sun and good mood, and its contrasting violet. It is considered that violet is the most complex and mystic color of the gamut of colors. It symbolizes the soul and body like the unity of antithesis, identified with the rebellious beginning. Violet also represents nostalgia and memory because it is a mixture of red and blue. Optimism and disappointment, trust and deceit, reality and illusion, passion and pain, calmness and drama, luck and misfortune, joy and mourning, sin and repentance are associated with this color. Violet is also appreciated as the color of maturity and fruition, and it is especially liked by emotional people. Purple is a symbol of life. Presently violet as well as its undertones is Janina’s favorite color. 


Due to her useful social contacts Janina Monkute-Marks could get the best exhibition halls in the cities, and in such a way her exhibits sounded Lithuania’s praises. Janina Monkute-Marks made charitable contributions to charity organizations. She travelled a lot alone or together with her husband, and visited more than 50 countries. Her husband disposed business affairs, and she visited museums and markets looking for examples of folk art and collecting each interesting artwork. Janina Monkute-Marks says, “I realized that primitive art is similar all over the world because it employs the same symbols – the earth, the sky and the deity”. Each nation has got its own individual ways to decorate – they make masks, crowns, decorate windows and tombs. Janina Monkute-Marks’ abundant collection of world art comprises the examples of African, Asian and European folk art, as well as the artworks of American people and a lot of masks, textiles and fancywork. Only a small part of Janina’s textile collection has been taken to Kedainiai. However, it is a huge present to Kedainiai because there are no similar artworks in Lithuania’s museums. In order to place all the examples of artwork, which are stored in the USA, a separate building would be needed. Appliquéd cloth, fancywork, bedspreads and hand-made clothes from various exotic regions are shown in the exhibit.

 Curator Asta Fedaraviciute