Lithuanians in the News
27th August, 2006
Australian Lithuanian Artists Feature Prominently in Sydney Printmakers 45 Year Retrospective
Three works by Australian Lithuanian artists at the exhibition.
(L-R) Vaclovas Ratas - "The garden" 1963, Eva Kubbos - "The sudden wings of blue" 1962,
Henry Šalkauskas - "Black harbour" 1961.
Ramona Ratas, daughter of Vaclovas Ratas, in front.
The retrospective exhibition "Sydney Prints: 45 Years of Sydney Printmakers" was officially opened on August 18, 2006, at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, located at the National Trust Centre at Observatory Hill in Sydney. The exhibition features 90 works from 68 graphic artists, present and formers members of the Sydney Printmakers Society and artists who had previously exhibited at Sydney Printmakers exhibitions. Australian Lithuanian artists feature prominently in this exhibition - Vaclovas Ratas (3 works), Henry Šalkauskas (3 works) and Eva Kubbos (one work). They were all foundation members of the Sydney Printmakers, founded in February 1961.
This very impressive exhibition was curated by Ann Ryan, Curator of Australian Prints, Art Gallery of NSW, and was formally opened by Hendrik Kolenberg, Senior Curator, Australian Prints, Drawings & Watercolours at the Art Gallery of NSW. In his opening remarks Hendrik Kolenberg especially stressed the artistic contributions of Ratas and Šalkauskas. Other speakers at the opening included the President of the National Trust, the Hon. Barry O’Keefe AM QC, and the current President of
Tiiu Reissar in front of her work, "Three trees" 1988.
Sydney Printmakers, Graham Marchant. Contemporary jazz by the Nicky Crayson Quintet set an appropriate mood for the evening. Exhibiting at this exhibition as well was Tiiu Reissar, an Australian Estonian artist, who was a former President over many years of the Sydney Printmakers and who is the author of the comprehensive article on Vaclovas Ratas in Culture/Artists section on this SLIC website. Articles on Henry Šalkauskas and Eva Kubbos may also be found in this section.
The Lithuanian "connection" with Sydney Printmakers goes right back to the formation of the group. The event that provided the impetus for subsequent formation of the group was the "First Australia-wide Graphic Art Exhibition" in June 1960 by the Contemporary Art Society at the David Jones Art Gallery in Elizabeth Street, Sydney. This event was part-sponsored by the Lithuanian Society of Sydney and additionally the main prize money of £500 (a huge sum in those days) was donated by the late Dr. Sophie Ambroza, a member of the Sydney Lithuanian community. The following year in February the Sydney Printmakers were formed, with Ratas, Šalkauskas and Kubbos among the 24 artist foundation members, drawing on the rich tradition in graphic arts in pre-war Lithuania. Subsequently another Lithuanian artist, Algirdas Šimkūnas, also joined. The Art Gallery of NSW in March this year accepted the gift of four prints by Vaclovas Ratas, bequeathed in the will of Dr. Ambroza, who passed away recently. This gift, according to the Gallery, "has enabled it to better represent Ratas’ work in the collection".
The exhibition will continue until 24 September, 2006 at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust Centre, Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney. It will then go on tour to regional galleries in NSW - the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Windsor and the Tamworth Regional Gallery.