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At a time of political and cultural upheaval in Lithuania when more and more theme exhibitions were organised by emerging curators in the place of established annual review exhibitions, a new initiative started in the city of Kaunas.  Kaunas had a large and active community of textile artists. More than ten years ago textile artists of different ages and views, from various organisations came together with one aim – to create a space where textile art could flourish. This spontaneous initiative sprang, on the one hand, from the need to create and unrestrictedly exhibit one’s works in exhibitions, and, on the other hand, from the understanding that artists desire a context that will stimulate creation. At that time Lithuanian artists were forced to live quite a closed creative life. It was still difficult for them to enter a wider geographical context because of the country’s political past. The wish to get acquainted with, and be connected to, the international textile art community stimulated artists to take the initiative and organise an ongoing international textile art exhibition that we now call the Kaunas Art Biennial. This initiative appeared and was developed under the auspices of the Kaunas Department of the Lithuanian Artists’ Association and was actively supported by the staff of the Textile Department of the Kaunas Art Institute.

The management of the Biennial is heavily dependent on voluntary activity and rests to a great extent on the executive committee.  The fact that the point person for the Biennial changes spontaneously almost from event to event, gives it its dynamism and vitality. The organisation of the Biennial depends on the commitment of a group of volunteers that do not belong to one institution. The make-up of the group is always changing, consisting of varying numbers of people who work in various spheres. Today the Kaunas Biennial is already a real and distinctive cultural phenomenon in the country, and it has blended into the best known events of textile art in the world. Is it an example of blind luck determined by the initiative of individual people and their selfless activity, or is it a consistent pattern? Even though year by year the Biennial is supported by local and national agencies, that alone do not secure its future. The individual initiative, which is not connected to mainstream cultural policy and practice, is still the only reliable guarantee of the event.

The planning of the Kaunas Art Biennial TEXTILE 05 gave me, as the chief executive, great satisfaction to get acquainted with many very good and generous people who selflessly gave of their creativity, work, and time so that we could make the city a better place to live.

 I should like to acknowledge the contribution of local and national agencies -The City of Kaunas and The Lithuanian Culture and Sport Support Fund for their role played in realising the project.  Equally important has been the support of the Nordic Culture Fund and Japan Foundation, who made it possible to bring the art collections from Northern Europe and Japan. The Biennial would not be feasible without the active support of the Finish Embassy, British Council, Japanese Embassy, and all our sponsors and friends. Special Acknowledgment is due to the Founders of the Awards, which enriched the artists’ life with good emotions and financial support. The Biennial owes much to the curators Keiko Kawashima, Silja Puranen, and Jon Eric Riis for their goodwill and unbelievable work that enriched the event; to the willing support of the Jury members Osvaldas Daugelis, Laima Kreivytė, and Gailutė Kazakevi?iūtė; to partners for joining the event’s idea and adding to it. I express a deep gratitude to all with whom I had the opportunity to cooperate day after day, this Biennial would not have been as it is without their help.

The final and biggest thanks go to the artists of the Biennial for their willingness to take part in the exhibition – without them the Biennial could not have happened.

I hope that TEXTILE 05 will give its visitors what they expect and what they are worth.



Vita Gelunienė

TEXTILE 05 Chief Executive