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Antanas Sutkus (b. 1939) is a photographer, the initiator of the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers and its long-time leader, and probably the Lithuanian photographer who has gained the greatest international recognition. He is often called a photographer of the Lithuanian people. The photographer’s works focus on people who have been encountered in various life situations, either accidentally or expectedly. The work of the proponent of Lithuanian humanistic photography is a monumental epoch-making portrait of his contemporaries, the Lithuanian people.
From 2020 September 11 an exhibition of photographs by Antanas Sutkus “In Memoriam” dedicated to the memory of Holocaust victims is open in Chaim Frenkel Villa (Vilniaus St. 74, Šiauliai).
In 1988, A. Sutkus started photographing meetings of people who survived the Holocaust. It was a time of great change, which we call the Revival of the nation and state. Lithuanian Jews also experienced a revival. Democratic change has allowed them to speak louder about the horrors of the Holocaust in the past, which were silenced or distorted during the Soviet era. When many chroniclers focused on the great battles of epoch-making fractures, A. Sutkus heard this voice of truth of the Jewish nation and directed his camera at them. Over several years (mostly 1994–1997), he created a unique series of portraits commemorating those who became martyrs and witnesses of war madness. The eyes looking from the photographs remember the restless everyday life of the Vilnius and Kaunas ghettos, the massacres of compatriots, relatives, Stutthof and other death camps. “I immediately noticed that their faces are different.” A. Sutkus says. “Maybe not faces, but spirits. It’s the spirit of people who have suffered a lot.” A. Sutkus guesses what Lithuania would look like today if its Jewish citizens were not killed. He calls the Holocaust the highest form of fascist metastasis. According to the photographer, there will never be too much talk about it, as well as support and attention for those who have survived.
Exhibition organizers: Šiauliai “Aušros” Museum, Photography Museum, PI Antanas Sutkus Photography Archives
On a cover:
Antanas Sutkus. Klara Černiauskienė, born 1917