Milda Richardson presents paper in Gdansk, Poland

31 Oct 2019 12:50 AM | Christine R Henry (Administrator)

In 1976 fifteen carvers gathered in Usenai to install a memorial in honor of the Lithuanian army division who, in 1944, liberated the port city of Klaipeda occupied by the Germans. The 12 tall monuments, graceful in their curvilinear forms, were raised on a man-made mound, visible from the road. In contrast to the totem poles, these artifacts were cut out of thick boards and carved to resemble the ornamental distaff of a spinning wheel. The geometric patterns made these artifacts tolerable during Soviet occupation because they did not openly contravene Communist ideology. Because it was forbidden to make crosses and wayside shrines, artists turned to the “decorative and ideologically neutral distaff.” courtesy of Milda RichardsonMilda B. Richardson read a paper “Lithuanian Pilgrimage Repressed and Restored” at the 13th Conference on Baltic Studies in Europe 2019. The Conference was held in the European Solidarity Centre, Gdansk, Poland, June 26-29, 2019. To the delight of attendees, former President Lech Walesa attended the welcome reception.  Focusing on the pilgrimage aspect of sites before and after independence, this presentation built on previous research including a paper published by VAF in 2005.

Related publications:

“Iconoclasm and Resistance:  Wayside Shrines in the Struggle for Lithuanian Independence,” in Architecture and Armed Conflict:  The Politics of Destruction, eds. JoAnne Mancini and Keith Bresnahan (London:  Routledge, 2014): 103-115.  Referenced in Andrew Herscher, “In Ruins.  Architecture, Memory, Countermemory,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Article DOI:  10:1525/jsah.204.73.4.464 footnote 10.

“Reverence and Resistance in Lithuanian Wayside Shrines,” Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture X, Alison K. Hoagland and Kenneth A. Breisch, eds. (The University of Tennessee Press, 2005):  468-508.

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