Artists who painted a painting the size of five-story building: “It’s a form of protest against the greyness of the Soviet era”

The dilapidated wall of an apartment building in Vilijampolė came to life with a picture reminiscent of ancient architecture. The five-story building in Union Square was decorated with the unique work “Skliautas” (engl. Dome). It seems to blend in with the environment in its colour range, and contrasts with it sharply regarding its content. According to the authors of the drawing, it is a protest against the ideology of greyness and uniformity typical for the Soviet era.

The longevity of the work was taken care of

Kaunas has been expanding its open-air street art gallery for several years. These days, “Skliautas” supplemented the exhibition of paintings. On the Neris river embankment, “Gyva Grafika”, experts in scenography and large-scale drawing, painted the five-story building marked with number 7. Experienced artists implemented the ambitious project in 7 days at the end of November.

The height of the wall reaches 15 m, and the total area of the painting occupies almost 200 square meters. More than 60 bottles of spray paint were used for the work. Tadas Šimkus, who worked in the team of artists, said that the biggest challenge was to come to an agreement with nature. However, the process went smoothly.

In order to ensure the longevity of the drawing, Kaunas City Municipality first allocated funding to insulate the wall, so that in the future, when the decision to renovate the apartment building is made, its artistic decoration will continue to remain intact.

“It took two years from the idea to its implementation. The idea was born while scrolling through ancient graphic drawings depicting cities and their architecture of past centuries. Impressive, mesmerizing beauty inspired the desire to transfer at least a small part to the walls of Kaunas” – said Timotiejus Norvila, known to many by his creative nickname Morfai.

The current Union Square was called Komsomol Square in Soviet times. From that time, the Komsomol memorial has survived there. The new drawing is like a beautiful form of protest against the previous ideology of insensitivity and rudeness, when buildings, people and their belongings were squeezed into very narrow and limited frames. At the same time, “Skliautas” symbolizes the significance of architecture for the city and its people.

History redrawn

The street artist does not hide that after seeing the finished drawing, he thought about the history of Kaunas and the entire country, about suppressed creativity and the problem of the difference in personalities.

“Just like those grey apartment buildings, the community living here has been entangled and intimidated for a long time. It would seem funny, but in fact, the connection between the walls and us is extremely close. What if things were different? If such paintings would not be needed? If we had grown up surrounded by such architecture?” – The author of the drawing shared his thoughts.

The artist is convinced that a good drawing does not compete with the building’s architecture, but harmoniously complements it. Its purpose is to bring something new, meaningful, decorate and create interesting cultural value for the district and the whole city.

Open air gallery

Street art is an important part of Kaunas’ identity. The “Living Walls” programme, which started more than three years ago, aims to help street artists connect with building owners. Residents are increasingly offering grey walls as a canvas for artists’ creations.

The ideas selected and approved by the Commission is being financed by the Kaunas City Municipality. During the lifetime of the project, almost a hundred professional works supplemented the „Living Walls“ exhibition.

Find more information about the possibilities of decorating the city with original works and the entire photo gallery of completed works here gyvosienos.kaunas.lt.

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