Jurga Ivanauskaite. She died a year ago, in February 17, , aged 45, after a long battle against cancer. Jurga Ivanauskaite is a unique figure in contemporary literature in the Baltic states. In her final years, after a great deal of searching and wandering, she achieved a kind of peace with her home country that brought her life and work to an oddly natural conclusion. Her paintings and photographs, which like her books underwent a complete transformation after her travels in India and Tibet in the mids, always draw crowds when exhibited. They have been used to illustrate the covers of her books, including her three remarkable and highly personal works of non-fiction on Tibetan life and religion, Istremtas Tibetas Tibet in Exile, , Kelione i Sambala Journey to Shambhala, and Prarasta Pazadetoji zeme Lost Promised Land,

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They are united by the humanistic attitudes characteristic of mature personalities, a longing for wider spaces, and the fact that they spent important periods of their lives outside Lithuania and were able to look more deeply — from outside, as it were — at themselves and at the strong points of the culture of their native country as well as its problematic aspects.

The way to the East of this artist, an intellectual who grew up in a family of intellectuals, and her search for a place in the world are full of many experiences, both outer and inner, that have given her work a special authenticity. It is a world of mysterious dreams, the Promised Land, a metaphor for true faith and authentic existence.

I have always dreamt about this country the way a homeless person led through the desert dreams about the Promised Land and a medieval mystic — about the kingdom of Christ, which will appear after the Apocalypse. During my most difficult hours, I would remind myself that this is not yet the abyss of sadness, that the real chasm opens up when there is a sudden upsurge of implacable longing for a country I have never seen. During my happiest moments, I knew that this is not yet the summit of bliss, that is there — in the Himalayas, on the Roof of the World.

These changes have become clear in all areas of her life and creative activity. Incidentally, this artist herself also speaks about constant personal change. Certain basic moral and ethical norms persist, but everything else belongs to the realm of change and transformation" Lietuvos aidas [Echo of Lithuania], June 3, The first time, I went there for one month, but this first journey so enchanted me that later with interruptions I spent almost five years in the Himalayas in India, Nepal, and Tibet.

Apart from Buryatia, the beginning of all those journeys both inner and outer was a meeting with the Dalai Lama at the archcathedral in Vilnius in Indeed, for a receptive person travel and a knowledge of other cultures, especially those of Eastern nations, which stand out for the richness of their traditions, often become an important source for knowledge of the world and of oneself.

Her first, two-month-long journey to Dharamsala, where the main Tibetan diaspora lives in exile along with the Dalai Lama, opened up for this writer completely different aspects of the cultural history of the subjugated Tibetan people. In the work of no other Lithuanian writer has there been such a powerful outpouring of an all-encompassing feminine desire that has assumed an almost cosmic meaning. As she herself affirms, she has written all her books driven by inner necessity.

However, this artist also works in the fields of representational art and photography. In the spring of , she held a public show, Mandalos [Mandalas], in which she exhibited works created in the Himalayas using the mediums of watercolor, chalk, pencil, and felt-tip pen.

Here, there is much refined stylization, and there are many distinctively transformed elements of the Indian miniature. Some of her collages use Himalayan plants. In this series there predominate five basic colors that have different symbolical meanings in various countries: white, red, yellow, blue, and green. These pictures give special importance to the open symbols of Tibet and other Eastern nations.

This show was accompanied and supplemented by thirty photographs. Traveling to the East and delving into the philosophy of Buddhism helped her understand the importance not only of a different hierarchy of values, but also, most especially, of an intense spiritual life.

These pursuits helped her develop a different view of the history of civilization, nature, man, and his weaknesses; they helped her grasp the importance of understanding the cultural values of other nations and of openness to the world. Accusing these books of terrible sins says much more, it seems to me, about the critics themselves than about the object of their "keen-eyed" studies.

Very important for her are personal and authentic experiences as well as the desire to break forth from a narrowly understood national space and see broad, intoxicating panoramas from mountaintops. For a woman, especially one from that closed world in which we lived for half a century, such metamorphoses are tantamount to a heroic exploit. She rebelled against the established world order and the trampling on the rights of oppressed peoples; she opposed dishonest social conventions and sought to expand their limits.

She grieves that the most powerful states put their own interests first and regard those fighting for the freedom of Tibet and Chechnya with indifference. This writer constantly reminds us that through indifference and silence we inexcusably betray those who are suffering.

She is truly moved by the subjugation of nations and the suffering of people: "Now, when the Indian state of Gujarat had an earthquake, I mourn as if this had happened in my second fatherland, whose people are as dear to me as brothers and sisters".



Zurn She had already begun to explore Catholicism in greater depth as part of her ongoing spiritual quest, and she enjoyed long discussions with local religious figures such as Tolstoyan ascetic Father Stanislovas, Monsignor Vasiliauskas and Franciscan priest Julius Sasnauskas. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Jurga Ivanauskaite is a unique figure in contemporary literature in the Baltic states. After her visits in the Far East, she became an active supporter of the Tibet liberation movement. The ruling stated that it could only be sold in shops selling erotic products and the author was being discussed on weekly crime programmes on Lithuanian state radio. Her youthful characters played Beatles songs, enthused about surrealist painters, contemplated the mysticism of Castaneda, and were frequently misunderstood.


Jurga Ivanauskaitė

Netrukus kambaryje pasklido gaivi pavasario muzika. Juodas kalno siluetas. Laikas — tik tam, kad pasentum. Mes jo laukiame, o jis — neateina. Rodos, tapau absurdo spektaklio dalyviu.


J.Ivanauskaitė: gydytojai vilčių nebesuteikia



Jurga Ivanauskaite. Gone with her dreams


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