‘DIFFICULT PASTS. CONNECTED WORLDS: Lithuanian artistic and cultural struggle for self-determination as a symbol made relevant by Putin’s war in Ukraine’ International conference on 100 Years of Self-Determination at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.
Lithuanian artistic and cultural struggle for self-determination as a symbol made relevant by the Putin’s war in Ukraine. In this paper I look at the Lithuanian artistic and cultural struggle for self-determination as a symbol made relevant by the Putin’s war in Ukraine. I will examine the conditions of the struggle for self-determination in the recent past, when Lithuania gained its independence from the ‘Big Brother’ – the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, aligned with the process of decolonisation and recognised as a fundamental human right. I will look at how the understanding of transgenerational trauma through personal and societal self-reflection and the commitment to processing ‘the difficult pasts’ must be recognised today as the key element in achieving the true artistic and cultural self-determination. I am proposing to look at self-determination as the phenomenon that is both personal (the SELF) and the mutual, the communal, the shared, (the DETERMINATION), and to notice how both parts are intrinsically inter-connected, in the way the word is built phonetically, and as a meaning that identifies intentionality of individual free will. At the same time, I propose that SELF does not limit self-determination to an individual, but instead arches towards the mutual, the shared, the communal aspiration of freedom. I will pose a question of whether Lithuanian nation in general, and Lithuanian artists and cultural activists in particular, can exercise self-determination and avail of their freedom if the nation at large has not yet fully addressed and processed the transgenerational trauma of its ‘difficult pasts’. Specifically, I will look at the practice and the expression of self-determination, which is equivalent to the expression of the individual and the artistic free will – as it has been, is, and could be exercised by Lithuanian artists and cultural activists, especially within the context of processing of its past traumas, the understanding of its value within the present, and the aspirations for its future. These are the three elements that I am going to focus on in this presentation and I will start with myself by the short introduction to my research by practice.