If you’ve ever participated in a celebratory march, it doesn’t really matter what banners you carried or what slogan you shouted – the form of the parade always remained the same. So, you’ll probably recognize the choreography of such mass celebrations, whether held in the Soviet era or in interwar Lithuania. But as we look at the images captured by the renowned interwar photographer Vytautas Augustinas, we might notice that people participated in those marches with a bit more sincerity. Augustinas also captured his images against idealized surroundings, hoping, apparently, to contribute to the building of an independent Lithuanian state.
Meanwhile, in photographs taken by Vytautas Stanionis, Sr., who worked as a photographer for a newspaper in Alytus, we see the perfect execution of ideological demands typically seen in Soviet-era demonstrations. These photos were published in the press. Other images by Stanionis were more subjective and shed light on the absurdity of such staged events and their simulated optimism. Let’s see how Soviet celebrations were captured by other artists featured in this exhibition.
Opening of the First Lithuanian National Olympic Games. Kaunas, 1938
Analogue print, 40 × 40
Lithuanian National Museum collection
Demonstration in Alytus, 1956
Digital print, 29 × 40
Property of the artist’s family