Romualdas Požerskis

The Moscow exhibition of the fifty year old “Lithuanian school” we have written about yesterday was a retrospective show of the founding masters of the movement, so it did not include many of its important figures who, because of their age, were not yet able to participate at the exhibition of 1969 which gave name to the school. They include Romualdas Požerskis, who at the time of the exhibition was eighteen year old and had just enrolled in the Kaunas engineering college, and who first took part at a photo exhibition in 1973. For him the “FotoSoyuz” gallery has just organized a retrospective exhibition which closed a month ago today in Moscow.

The exhibition has selected from four series of the master. The Lithuanian old cities and Church feasts were both composed in 1974. The Gardens of memory, showing village cemeteries, was photographed in 1984. He started The joys and sorrows of little Alfons in 1992, and although he published the album in 1998, he has kept regularly visiting the main character of the series, about whom he writes like this:

“In 1992 I started to take photos on the smallest (90 cm high) man in Lithuania, the farmer Alfons Mickus, whose life was rich in both sad and happy events. Since then I often visit Alfons, I talk to him, I try to pay off my debt. He impresses me as a very strong man. If he does not like something, he openly says it in your face. He gets on well with me, and if he needs it, I take him wherever he wants. As a photographer, I am not “aggressive” with him, I do not want to set him into artificial situations or to force him to play. Our greatest common adventure was a journey to the sea. Although he lived 70 years near the sea, he had never seen it or heard the sound of the waves. The sea was his cherished dream. When he caught sight of the Baltic sea, he ran to it, went into the water, and his shoes soon turned green from the algae. “Who plants vegetables in the sea?” he wondered.

Alfons’ life is the epic of his fight with the blow that fell upon him. He had ceased to grow in the childhood, when he was attacked by a rooster, and his parents wanted to give their unloved child to a circus. In Stalin’s era his name was on the list of those who were going to be exiled to Siberia for the public performance of political songs. During the Lithuanian rebirth he was anxious for the independence of the country, and in January 1991 he was in Vilnius among the defenders of the Parliament.”

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