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The Exhibit „PHOTO GRAPHIC“ by Nele Zirnite-Zukauskaite (Riga) and Jonas Kuprys (Chicago)

2008 September 5 @ 17:00 - 2008 October 18 @ 12:00

Photography by Jonas Kuprys from the cycle  „Lithuanians in America“ and graphic artworks by Nele Zirnite-Zukauskaite from her exhibit „Valley of love“.


The space reminding of a valley is the ideal place for the works. Love for me is the creation giving the opportunity to love in the universal time. It raises the soul above the earthly things, helps to control feelings, gives the opportunity to distance oneself from the everyday uproar, passing passions and wishes.

A strong need to escape from the technological embrace is a driving force making to go against the stream. An infinite wish to feel the pulse of time lets not to stay as a passive observer inertly signing under the arithmetic diagnosis of one’s own time.

Aqua fortis is not an accidental choice. The settled link commits for a further perfection and scarification. Behind me the zinc plates – the security shield for the sensitive soul craving for strengthening – can be seen.

I myself by all my entity plunge into the plane, trying to destroy the material basis, because it is not a simple plane…“

Nele Zirnite-Zukauskaite was born in 1959, in Latveliai village (Akmenė district). From 1978 till 1982 she studied the program of graphics at Lithuanian National Art Institute (at the moment Vilnius Art Academy), in the year 1982 she continued to study at Art Academy of Latvia, from which she graduated in 1984. From the year 1988 she has been the member of Artist Union of Latvia. During the years 1995-2003 she has worked as a lecturer at Art Academy of Latvia, the Department of Graphics. Since the year 2003 she has been the associated professor of Latvian Christian Academy, the Department of Art.

Since 1982 she has been taking part at various group exhibitions in Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, France, Australia, US, Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium, Israel, Italy, Brazil, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Czech Republic, Turkey, Spain. She organized twenty-four individual exhibitions (in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany and the US).

Awards: “The Best in Painting of the Year“, Vilnius Art Institute, Lithuania (1984, the award); Triennale of Graphic Miniature, Riga, Latvia (1987, the special prize); the 13th Graphic Art Exhibition, Riga, Latvia (1987, the diploma); “Roads and people” (“Keliai ir žmonės“), Smiltyne, Latvia (1987m., the second prize); the 9th Triennale of Graphics, Tallinn, Estonia (1992, the prize and the diploma); “The Best in Printmaking“, Rockport Publisher, Gloucester, US (1997, the award for the originality); “Riga in the Modern Art” (“Ryga šiuolaikiniame mene“), the Gallery “Basteis“ Riga, Latvia (1997, the award of Riga City Municipality, 1998, the prize); “Miniature Art” (“Miniatiūros menas“), R. Vitols, Valmiera, Latvia (1998, the main prize); the 6th Art Exhibition of the Little Forms, Riga Gallery, Latvia (2003, the prize and the award); Biennale of Little Graphic, under the title GRAFIX, City Museum Gallery, Breclav, Czech Republic (2005, the main prize, 2007, jury prize), IX Biennale of Graphics “Josep de Ribera“, Xativa, Spain (2007, the 1st place – the main prize).

Two scholarships were allocated for the author by the Latvian Cultural Fund: for the exhibition “NEXUS“ in 2006 and for the organization of the anniversary exhibition at the National Museum of Latvia in 2009.

The works of the artist were bought by Amire Art Centre (Turkey), Town Museum and Gallery (Czech), Monroe County Community College (US), Municipal Art Gallery in Lodz (Poland), University of Arizona Museum of Art (US), Art Foundation (Russia), Eksjo Museum (Sweden), Alma Lov Museum (Sweden), Cremona Civic Museum, Collezione internazionale Della Grafica (Italy), Arsenals Art Museum (Latvia), Valka Regional Museum (Latvia).

Lives in Riga.


Jonas Kuprys, who was born and grew among the Lithuanians in Cicero (IL), has been photographing for already several decades; however, he has never organized any exhibition. The majority of his photographs were published in the newspaper “Draugas“ (“Friend”), where he has been working as a print-shop manager. However, he followed the example of the other two Lithuanian photographers – Algimantas Kezys and Jonas Tamulaitis – living in Chicago, and introduced the photographs collected during several decades for Lithuania.  His photo exhibition, under the title “Lithuanians in America“, was opened on a very memorable day – US Independence Day, July 4th, at Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, as well as at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. At the moment the photographs of Jonas Kuprys together with the graphic works of Nelė Zirnitė – Žukauskaitė are exhibited in Kėdainiai, Janina Monkutė-Marks Museum-Gallery.

From the year 1973 Jonas Kuprys has been photographing the life of the Lithuanian emigrants – the events and people. As he maintains: “I am writing a historic novel, but I am doing that not with words but with pictures“. In 1984 at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology he acquired the MA degree in photography. He was taught by the prominent photographers – Robert Heineken and David Plowden. Currently J. Kuprys works in the newspaper “Draugas“ (“Friend”), published by the Lithuanian emigrants. He does not consider oneself to be a photo reporter, although the majority of emigration newspapers and magazines have published his photographs.

The photographer states that during 35 years of photographing he has recorded about 50000 scenes of the postwar life of Lithuanians in the emigration. This exhibition presents a part of the photographs demonstrated in 2005 in the exhibition at Čiurlionis Gallery (Chicago).

The photographs of J. Kuprys presents the period from the year 1973 till 2004. The black-white photographs are grouped according to certain themes in the chronological order; however this is not the documentation of the life of the Lithuanians from Chicago. This is more a personal relation of the photographer with the things that have been interesting for him during his life among the Lithuanians in America. The most important thing for him is to show the striving of the Lithuanian emigrants to remain Lithuanians, as well as to disclose their efforts to inform the American society about the occupation of Lithuania. The exhibition presents the scenes from the old Lithuanian districts of Chicago: Marquette Park, Bridgeport, Brighton Park and Cicero. Lithuanians have lived in these districts for decades; here the churches, clubs were established, the organizations and business were created by Lithuanians. We can also see the parade of the Occupied nations, by which each year the American society is reminded about the countries occupied by Communists. The scenes from the demonstrations for the freedom of Lithuania, the photographs of Lithuanian social characters, Lithuanian song festivals, cultural events that took place in US, Lithuanian cemetery and the festival of Joninės organized by the Lithuanians that came to Chicago after the declaration of independence are presented at the exhibition. These photographs should attract the attention of people in Lithuania; they must be especially interesting for those who are interested in the activity of the Lithuanian emigrants.

The photographs of Jonas Kuprys were exhibited at the Ward Gallery, Beverly Arts Center, Crown Hall Gallery and Čiurlionis Gallery in Chicago, as well as at Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. Currently he is preparing to publish the larger photo album.