Kaunas bids farewell to the title of Capital of Culture and passes it on to three other European cities. After the project reached the finish line, many Lithuanian and foreign cities were surprised with photos of people sending air kisses. With this project of photographer Remis Ščerbauskas, “Kaunas 2022” team symbolically says goodbye - according to them, 2022 kisses are dedicated to all dreamers and doers, participants and artists who helped to make the dream of the Capital of Culture come true.
Since 2019 the author of the idea, photographer Remis Ščerbauskas sought to capture the participants and visitors of the European Capital of Culture events, community members, artists, Kaunasians and guests of the city, volunteers, the team that contributed to the implementation of the project and those who often stayed behind the spotlight. All these people have raised the city’s culture to a new level.
The result of many photoshoots is 2022 unique kisses, the process of capturing which, according to the photographer, was not the easiest. Reactions of people varied from looking for hidden cameras to persuading others to participate.
“A kiss is a symbol of intimacy, security, trust, a feeling that is difficult to share at any time. So, I admire people's courage to get involved and give others a beautiful emotion. I would like Kaunas to find the strength to let in new ideas and participate in international projects in the future,” said the artist.
The kisses of Kaunasians and friends of Kaunas will reach not only the cities of Lithuania, but also billboards, bus stops and computer screens in Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Israel, Sweden, Finland, and the United Kingdom.
Kisses - for communities, visitors, and artists
Not only passers-by but also artists, community representatives, participants of the events and the “Kaunas 2022” team were captured in R. Ščerbauskas' photoshoots. Curators, authors of the idea behind the project, volunteers and technical staff shared whom they would like to send their gratitude.
According to the CEO of “Kaunas 2022”, Virginija Vitkienė, her kisses would go to the residents of the city and district of Kaunas. “It was these people who accepted the initiatives with open hearts. Some of them may have seemed strange at first - after all, concerts usually take place in halls, and here they were both in the yards and the forests... Well, culture crosses all thresholds. With kisses, I would like to send a wish to everyone: the title of the Capital of Culture is moving elsewhere, but let's not forget what we have created, let's not forget to nurture the commonality that has been cultivated, let it be sustainable, and good things continue to travel from heart to heart.”
The kiss from Rytis Zemkauskas, the creator of the “Kaunas 2022” trilogy, is dedicated to “Kaunas 2022” volunteers: “They will remember the events of the capital for a long time, and the city will remember them forever!”
Ana Kočegarova-Maj, the head of the “Kaunas 2022” programme, conveys her wishes to the other cities of the European Capital of Culture: “This is a wish to Timișoara, Vesprem, Elefsina, fraternal Tartu, Chemnitz and other cities that are preparing for the title year. A Ukrainian city must and will appear among them”, wishes the head of the programme.
Daiva Price, the curator of the Memory Office programme, believes that the value of the European Capital of Culture project is not the events, festivals or even works of art, but the new human connections that have been established during the project. “I am grateful to fate that I am part of this journey and I send my kiss of gratitude to all those I have met on my way.”
The entire collection of kisses could be found here.