Lithuanians in the News
21st November 2021
Vaclovas Ratas, Distinguished Australian Lithuanian Artist, Honoured by Exhibitions in Lithuania
The placard in front of the Vytautas Kasiulis Museum of Art
advertising the Ratas’ exhibition. Photo courtesy Violeta Šiurkienė
The distinguished Australian Lithuanian artist Vaclovas Ratas (1910 -1973) is being honoured by exhibitions in Lithuania at two major museums of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art (Lietuvos Nacionalinis Dailės Muziejus (LNDM), in Lithuanian) - at the Vytautas Kasiulis Museum of Art in Vilnius from June 11, 2021 to September 5, 2021 and then at the Pranas Domšaitis Gallery in Klaipėda from October 28, 2021 to January 23, 2022. The very successful exhibition at the Kasiulis Museum was extended for a month beyond the original closing date of September 5.
The honouring of Vaclovas Ratas was originally meant for his 110-year anniversary in 2020, but had to be delayed until 2021 due to problems caused by the worldwide Covid pandemic. “Vaclovas Ratas. Beyond the equator” is the name of the exhibition, as can be seen on the placard advertising the exhibition outside the Kasiulis Museum. Over 60 works have been collected for the exhibition. The curators of the exhibition are Regina Urbonienė, Dr.Tojana Račiūnaitė and Ilona Mažeikienė.
The exhibition is complemented by two publications, also by the LNDM. One of them is a facsimile edition of the book, “The Twelve Ravens”, originally published by Ratas in 1949, telling the story of a famous Lithuanian fairy tale and illustrated with 9 original Ratas’ woodcuts. The other publication is a 200-page comprehensive album, in Lithuanian and English, on the life and times of the artist.
A view of Ratas’ works in the Kasiulis Museum. Photo courtesy LNDM
Vaclovas Ratas arrived in Australia in 1949, together with his wife Regina and daughter Ramona. He had already had a notable art career in Europe and in the 23 years in Australia until his death in 1973 he made a name for himself in the graphics art scene as a creative innovator. He had a major role in the establishment of Sydney Printmakers society in order to promote graphic art, which until then had been largely overlooked in Australia. He belonged to Australia’s Contemporary Art Society and participated in many graphic art exhibitions. His works are represented at all major state art galleries in Australia.
He was also very active in the Australian Lithuanian Community. The album "Eleven Lithuanian Artists in Australia", edited by Ratas in 1967, became the first professional book on Australian Lithuanian artists.
The exhibitions in Lithuania forcefully illustrate the impact on graphic art that his works have had. His works have not dated. Nearly 50 years on after his death his works are being highly and widely appreciated.

For more information:
Vaclovas Ratas „Dvylika juodvarnių“ (The Twelve Ravens) | Lietuvos nacionalinis dailės muziejus (

Lithuania in the News
18th September 2021
Lithuania’s Ambassador to Australia Ready to Take up Post
Ambassador Darius Degutis. Photo courtesy, by J.Stacevičius
Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda has appointed Darius Degutis to be Lithuania’s Ambassador to Australia, residing in Canberra. Until this appointment of Darius Degutis, Lithuania’s Ambassador to Japan, Gediminas Varvuolis, residing in Tokyo, was also accredited as Ambassador to Australia. Ambassador Degutis is to take up his posting to Canberra on October 1, 2021.
Ambassador Degutis will be continuing a distinguished diplomatic career. He was Lithuania’s Ambassador to Poland 2001 – 2004 and to Israel 2009 – 2014. Born in 1963, he graduated from Vilnius University in 1986 and joined Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry in 1991, soon after Lithuania had re-established its independence. His other diplomatic postings abroad have included as advisor to Lithuania’s Embassy in Denmark (1992) and as Minister-advisor in Lithuania’s Embassy in Washington (1998 - 2001).
On presenting Ambassador Degutis’ credentials, President Nausėda emphasised Australia’s regional significance and hopes for more economic cooperation between Australia and Lithuania, especially in life sciences, biotechnologies, information technologies. He also emphasised the need to enhance the relations with the Lithuanian diaspora in Australia.

For more information:

Lithuania in the News
23rd May 2021
LOGIN 2021, the Most Significant IT and Innovation Conference in the Baltics to be Held Online This Year
Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, has been hosting the LOGIN conferences since 2007. LOGIN has become the most significant IT and Innovation conference in the Baltic States. The number of delegates to LOGIN had reached 5,000, but this year, due to the pandemic, LOGIN 2021 will be held entirely online over five days May 24 -28, 2021, focusing on innovation and progress.
LOGIN 2021 will be completely free of charge and registration will not be necessary. It will be broadcast live during the conference on the portals and and it will also be possible to view all the saved presentations after the event on the Delfi Plius platform.
A scene at LOGIN 2020. Photo courtesy
There will be more than 150 presentations, among 20 sessions, by many international and Lithuanian experts. Among the world-famous experts there will be the renowned virus researcher and vaccine developer Professor Jeffrey Almond of Oxford, Amazon start-up manager Rob De Feo, Lithuania’s former Foreign Minister and former EU Ambassador to Afghanistan and Russia, Vygaudas Ušackas, and many others.
Among the famous presenters will be Australia’s own celebrated science commentator and journalist, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. His presentation “Great Moments in Australian Science” will be first “off the rank” in the session “Save the Planet” on Monday, May 24, at 12:00 noon Vilnius time (7:00 pm Sydney time).

For more information:

Lithuania in the News
16th May 2021
Kaunas to take on the role of European Capital of Culture in 2022
A view of Kaunas from Aleksotas Hill.
Photo courtesy Wikipedia/ by David Iliff
Lithuania’s second city Kaunas has been chosen by the European Union (EU) to be a European Capital of Culture in 2022. For this role Kaunas now follows Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, which was European Capital of Culture in 2009. Located at the confluence of Lithuania’s largest rivers, Nemunas and Neris, Kaunas has always been a strategically important city. Between the two World Wars it served as Lithuania’s temporary capital. Hence the motto for Kaunas in 2022 - “From Temporary to Contemporary”, also emphasising its contemporary cultural significance.
In 2015 Kaunas was designated as a UNESCO City of Design and for its modern structures now has been nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List. As stated in ref.5: “Kaunas is renowned for its unique school of architecture. In the swirl of European events, the city’s “golden age” (1918–1940) was marked by the interwar modernism architecture: its dense concentration in the city centre, a distinctive Lithuanian style of interior, exterior and furniture design, which is a unique phenomenon not only in Lithuania, but also in Europe.”
Vilnius St. in Kaunas Old Town.
Photo courtesy Wikipedia/ by Adam Jones
With a population of just near 400,000 in Kaunas and its district, Kaunas boasts 60 museums and galleries, more than 10 professional theatres, as well as many other cultural facilities. In 2022 over 300 cultural events are planned. Among the outstanding cultural events for 2022 will be the International Day of Happiness, European Capital of Culture Forum, European Youth Festival, ConTempo international performing arts festival and Fluxus Festival. Also to be mentioned is Kaunas Literature Week, Japan Days, contemporary electronic music festival, and many others. Litvak artists Philip Miller and Jenny Kagan are composing a choral cantata about Kaunas. Visual art exhibitions by world-renowned artists William Kentridge, Yoko Ono, and Marina Abramović will be part of 13th Kaunas Biennial.
With such a rich cultural presence, Kaunas has been described as “The Crown Jewel of Europe’s Contemporary Culture”, an accolade well deserved! Together with Kaunas there will be two other cities as European Capitals of Culture in 2022 - in Luxembourg there will be Esch-sur-Alzette and in Serbia Novi Sad. There were no new European Capitals of Culture as such in 2021 due to the Covid-19 crisis, so Ireland’s Galway and Croatia’s Rijeka, who had that role in 2020, had their roles extended until April 2021.

For more information:
1. 2.

Lithuanians in the News
18th April 2021
Famous Rugby League Player, Lithuanian Heritage Tommy Raudonikis
is Mourned by the Australian Sporting World
The late Tommy Raudonikis. Photo courtesy
Tributes have flown in after the passing of the legendary Australian Rugby League (ARL) star, Tommy Raudonikis, who died on 7 April 2021 on the Gold Coast, Queensland, just a few days short of his 70th birthday. He was born in a migrant camp in Bathurst, New South Wales, to a Lithuanian father and a Swiss mother.
During an outstanding and controversial playing career, he played in Sydney with the Western Suburbs Magpies 1969-1979 and the Newtown Jets 1980-1982, moving to Queensland in 1983. In 1980 he played as captain of the New South Wales team in the inaugural State of Origin game.
Many achievement awards followed him. In 2004 he was included in Western Suburbs Magpies team of the century. In February 2008, he was included in the list of 100 Greatest Players in Australia in the century (1908-2007), to celebrate rugby league’s centenary in Australia. The Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) was awarded to him in 1982.
According to ARL Commission chairman Peter V'Landys, "Tommy was one of a kind. There will never be another Tommy Raudonikis. ... Tommy was everything that makes rugby league the greatest game of all.”

For more information:

Lithuanians in the News
17th January 2021
Lidija Šimkutė Represents Lithuania at the European Literature Festival in Japan
Lidija Šimkutė. Photo courtesy Lithuanian Embassy in Japan
Australian Lithuanian poet Lidija Šimkutė had the honour to represent Lithuania at the European Literature Festival in Japan ( on November 26, 2020. She is a bilingual peot writing in Lithuanian and English. She is well known in Japan as six of her poetry collections have already been translated into Japanese by Koichi Yakushigawa.
At this European Literature Festival Lidija was in very distinguished company, which included the Polish Nobel poet laureate Olga Tokarczuk among the eighteen European authors taking part. For more information please see this link to the information given by the Lithuanian Embassy to Australia, resident in Japan.
It was also pleasant to note that Lidija’s poetry was included in YouTube poetry readings in Japan on Christmas day ( )
Also just before Christmas on December 15, 2020, the Online Magazine for Lithuanian Literature “Vilnius Review” ( ) , has included Lidija’s poetry works( ) with a forward by the noted Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova.

Congratulations, Lidija!

Lithuanians in the News
7th November 2020
New book “A shared hope” by Daina Pocius

Lithuanians in the News
10th October 2020
Innovative Performance of The Dying Swan by Lithuanian Ballet Star
The Dying Swan solo performed on the roof of LNOBT.
Photo courtesy LNOBT/ Martynas Aleksa
The Dying Swan has always been a favourite solo ballet for ballet enthusiasts. The graceful solo, based on the music by the French composer Camille Saint-Sa?ns and choreographed by M. Fokine, was originally created for the world famous ballerina Anna Pavlova in 1907.
With Covid-19 crisis delaying live performances at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (LNOBT) in Vilnius, the LNOBT roof became the scene for a performance of The Dying Swan by Lithuanian Ballet star Olesia Shaitanova. The beautiful performance on the roof, with Vilnius famous landmarks visible in the background, uploaded to YouTube, has become a world favourite.
The concept was choreographed by Martynas Rimeikis, the newly appointed artistic director of Lithuanian Ballet. Australian Lithuanian ballet enthusiasts will remember Martynas Rimeikis, when he partnered Lithuanian prima ballerina Eglė Špokaitė during the Australian Lithuanian Days in Melbourne at the end of 2010.
Live music for the roof performance was performed by cellist Aušra Gedžiūtė-Petraitienė and harpist Aistė Baliunaitė-Dailidienė.

Further Information:
Click here for YouTube Video

Lithuania in the News
23rd August 2020
2020 Elections to Lithuanian Parliament
Australian Lithuanians and all Lithuanians in the Lithuanian diaspora around the world are strongly urged to vote in the forthcoming elections to the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas).
The elections will be held on October 11, 2020 and the deadline for registering to vote is September 11, 2020.
After many years of lobbying, Lithuanians living abroad have succeeded to have a seat in parliament reserved for representation of all the Lithuanians abroad. So this is the first election that there will be Member of Parliament (Seimas) elected by Lithuanians living abroad. Participation by Australian Lithuanians in this election is very important as a strong participation will strengthen the plans to establish a Lithuanian Embassy in Canberra. More generally it will strengthen the relationship of Lithuania with the Lithuanian diaspora and will help to ensure that there continues to be a Seimas member representing the diaspora.
For more information please see the Announcements on this website.

Lithuanians in the Community
4th July 2020
Australian Lithuanian Community of Sydney Elects a New Committee
(L-R) – Šarūnas Rimša (president), Aida Abromienė (treasurer), Jūratė Rimšienė (member), Ramona Zakarevičienė (member for special projects),
Dr. Alfonsas Stonis (vice-president), Justė Stonienė (member). (Absent) Veronika Daukaitė (secretary). Photo courtesy “Mūsų Pastogė”.
The Australian Lithuanian Community of Sydney was due to hold its Annual General Meeting for 2019 on March 29, 2020, but the AGM had to be rescheduled to a later date due to the coronavirus crisis. The rescheduled AGM was finally held on Sunday, June 29, 2020.

The meeting elected a new Committee for ALC – Sydney Inc.:

Šarūnas Rimša (president),
Dr. Alfonsas Stonis (vice-president),
Veronika Daukaitė (secretary),
Aida Abromienė (treasurer),
Jūratė Rimšienė (member),
Justė Stonienė (member).
Ramona Zakarevičienė (member for special projects).
For the Auditors elected were Dan Bieri and Jonas Penkaitis.

Lithuanians in the News
3rd May 2020
Books on Australian Lithuanians Featured at the 2020 Vilnius Book Fair
At the presentation of “In Sunshine and Shadow”.
(L-R) The moderator Dr. Lina Leparskienė, Dr Eve Puodžiūnaitė Wicks
and interpreter Judita Gliauberzonaitė. Photo courtesy Eve Wicks
Two recently published books about Australian Lithuanians have featured prominently at the 2020 Vilnius Book Fair, 20-23 February 2020. The Vilnius Book Fair is a major annual event in Lithuania’s cultural calendar. Lithuanians eagerly look forward to it. According to the Book Fair organisers, this year over the four days there were a record 72,930 visitors, 380 exhibitors from 9 countries, 646 events, and 65 guests from 24 countries. Authors endeavour to present their recently published works at the Book Fair.
This year the Book Fair featured “Saulėje ir šešėlyje. In Sunshine and Shadow”, by Dr. Eve Puodžiūnaitė Wicks and “Terra Australis Incognita”, edited by Ilona Mažeikienė and Regina Urbonienė. “Terra Australis Incognita” was the subject of an earlier News item on this website (Lithuanians in the News, December 15, 2019 ). The Brisbane resident Eve Puodžiūnaitė Wicks made a special trip to Vilnius to the Book Fair to present her book. The presentation by Ilona Mažeikienė and Regina Urbonienė was honoured by the presence of Dr Arūnas Gelūnas, the Director of the Lithuanian Art Museum, who had been enthusiastic in getting the book published. Vytas Juška, a former President of the Australian Lithuanian Community of Sydney, and currently a Vilnius resident, was also present at both book presentations.
Eve’s book is a beautifully produced book, describing the tribulations of Lithuanians settling in Queensland. In a thought provoking review of Eve’s book Dr. Lina Leparskienė, of the Lithuanian National Culture Centre and Literature and Folklore Institute, states: “The book is an aesthetic production, and its spacious layout invites the readers to take their time and read the book slowly and attentively. ......
The texts about the experiences of Lithuanians slowly putting down roots in Australia and the author’s exploration of her own Lithuanian background are temperate and empathetic. …...
In truth the book conveys insightful witness accounts and thoughtful descriptions, all depicting the reality of the subject’s lives; so the book is more than a documented history. As you go through this substantial book’s nine chapters, it’s like walking around a table, on which objects or photographs are displayed, each telling a new story from the lives of the émigré Lithuanians.”

Eve’s book is based in part on Eve’s thesis for her PhD from Griffith University in Queensland, which was awarded to her this year.

Congratulations, Eve !

Further information:
Dr. Leparskienė’s review can be found on