At first glance, we might get a mistaken impression about this project. These are not enlarged photographs but hyperrealistic, detailed and photographically precise renderings of adolescents from an orphanage in the town of Alytus. Impact is an artistic project undertaken by two brothers – Algirdas and Remigijus Gataveckas. Why and how is it effective?
The Gataveckas brothers themselves grew up in an orphanage after being abandoned by their parents. Both brothers were active and talented, and were also very good break-dancers. After noticing their skills, their teachers referred them to an art school. The brothers later graduated from the Vilnius Arts Academy and joined the ranks of the best-known artists of their generation in Lithuania. Their past, and its effect on them, however, never disappeared.
Wanting to encourage other children from the orphanage to take bold strides in life, the Gataveckas brothers came up with the Impact project. They returned numerous times to the Alytus of their childhood, to the orphanage where they were raised. They set up a small studio there and invited their younger colleagues to join them.
Notice how masterfully they have drawn their models’ facial features, poses, and every minute detail of their clothing. We can, of course, see this as a nod to art history, to the representational portraiture once used by rulers and aristocrats to immortalize themselves. Ramunė, Darius, the Dzetaveckas brothers and other orphans may not be kings, but in these drawings they look dignified and significant – thanks to the efforts of the two artists to inspire confidence in their younger friends.
“If we can do it, so can you,” Algirdas and Remigijus would tell them. The Impact project was very well received and focused attention on the problems faced by children growing up in orphanages. The two artists donated the proceeds from the project to the orphans. You might agree that the Impact project was unique in its socially engaged content and call to action. “If we can do it, so can you.” This is the message the Gataveckas brothers send to us today. To be sure, the least we can do in life is to take the next step forward.