Dear stranger, this is why you’re here.

The group exhibition Urgent Arts of Living, developed in the context of Parallel Platform, was first shown at Kaunas Photography Gallery, a unique space for photography in Lithuania, in June 2019. Curated by Cale Garrido, it presents works by Fábio Cunha, Marie Lukasiewicz and Ana Zibelnik.
The show traveled to Lisbon in November 2019, where it was presented along other exhibitions curated by colleagues Jon Uriarte, Eric Lawton, Leanna Teoh, Lexington Davis, Lovro Japundzic and Seda Yildiz. Almost a year later, it turned into a website, through which hopefully a wider audience will organically embrace and spread its reflections and ideas.

About the exhibition Urgent Arts of Living

Since the very first warnings of climate change at the end of the 1970s, its causes and dangers have been mostly told through facts and data. We feel immune, are addicted to our way of life and too lazy to give up some of our privileges for the good of the planet we live on.

We need imagery that affects us critically, that makes us see reality, that drives us into action.

Humans think in symbols. In the photographic language, metaphors are valid figures with a great capacity to shift deep-rooted mental conceptions. The exhibition explores how the arts can foster behavior change and engagement, moving us on a visceral, more human level in a way that facts simply cannot. Featuring new work by Marie Lukasiewicz, Fábio Cunha and Ana Zibelnik, the exhibition Urgent Arts of Living aims to create a space where both artists and audience can imaginatively and critically engage in constructive debate about the ecological and social crisis that surrounds us today; to begin a dialogue that contributes to profound and urgently needed change.

In his series We Still Kill Pigs With Our Hands, Fábio Cunha portrays a familiar tradition in a rural area of Portugal, where he lived until the age of 15. In an era of massive production and consumption, how these people use their hands is shown as an act of resistance to a world that craves the new and easily accessible. His performative intervention in public space To Walk a Mountain encapsulates this same idea. The 4,5 x 2,30 meters structure stands on wheels and waits to be moved. It is a poetic statement that a person has the strength to move a mountain with his hands.

In Beyond Coral White, Marie Lukasiewicz questions our habits of consumption. She has developed a multi-layered visual investigation of the bleaching and destruction of corals, and the exploitation of its properties in the parapharmaceutical industry.

We are the ones turning is an evocative photographic series by Ana Zibelnik. In her work, she zooms in on what it means to be running out of time and questions whether the inevitability of death can help us to rethink our role in nature.

The book Urgent Arts of Living, co-published by Kaunas Photography Gallery and Parallel Platform is available here.
Special thanks to Gintaras Česonis, Miglė Ceinorytė, Mirjam Kooiman, Emilija Jonaitytė, Gintarė Krasuckaite, Viktorija Mašanauskaitė, Karen McQuaid, Tom Mrazauskas, Alison Nordström, Donatas Stankevičius and Procurarte.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission. All images are © of the artists.