Monika Krikštopaitytė

(...) On the other side of the street was Laisvydė Šalčiūtė’s “Shining Women”, which consists of eight portraits of distinguished women. The word “shining” in the name didn’t appear because of the fact that they are being displayed on light boxes, but because the public figures and artists that are portrayed were the enlighteners of those around them. They were all courageous, breaking the norms of the time and achieved much. The only thing that is unfortunate is that the entire street wasn’t decorated with these inspirational personalities, because they shine brighter than stadium lights. The portraits are linked between one another by a map of Vilnius that serves as the background. It was important for the artist for the River Neris to flow through all of them like a vein joining them together. According to Laisvydė, ocean researcher Jacques-Yves Cousteau once said, that water is the most perfect symbol of love.

The idea to focus attention on vivid and influential women is not something that is new (it even re-wrote art history) and has already garnered criticism as an attempt to enter into the system of men, which generally means submissiveness.  Šalčiūtė’s “Shining Women” takes on a different meaning (which departs from that of its opposite) in the context of the light festival. Both Marija Gimbutienė and Karen Blixen, along with the other heroes that are presented, are shown as having the courage to be distinct. The rarity of these kinds of personalities is the result of the current gender system, and them being made equal to enlighteners is a reference that we are experiencing a bit of a decline. However, the frustration that important women are ignored on a regular basis in public always hangs in the air. Laisvydė talentedly formulates and engagingly brings to life this bothersome idea for all of us.

7 MENO DIENOS (“7 Days of Art”), Nov 16, 2007 issue nr. 777
From the article “Tourists in Our Own City”

LUX International Light Festival, Vilnius

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