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16 January 2019

National Library Opens Exhibition “Encounters. NYLA Portraits”

“It’s always an achievement to meet a fellow human being,” said one of the organizers, Karolis Vyšniauskas, at the opening of the podcast exhibition, probably the first of its kind in Lithuania, set in the dimly lit Exhibition Hall of the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania. He is a co-editor and host of Nanook, the team of media professionals creating new-generation Lithuanian journalism.

Vyšniauskas reminded the audience that in September 2017, the Nanook team launched NYLA, the first professional podcast in Lithuania: “We introduce our audience to people whose stories shed light on what it is like to live in our contemporary times. Our interviewees included a Muslim woman who seeks to change Western attitudes toward Islam; a literature professor who survived the Holocaust; a poet who has escaped from a psychiatric hospital; a woman from the Al-Anon community; a Romani teenager who proves his status on a dance floor; the citizen of the world, artist Jonas Mekas, and a prominent photographer”. These are the people interviewed by NYLA whose portraits are displayed at the exhibition. Headphones are also available for each photograph so visitors will have a chance to listen to their interviews with Nanook journalists.

Nyla is the heroine of the first documentary film Nanook of the North. The name Nyla means “winner” in Arabic. As pointed out by Vyšniauskas, at the time when the society becomes increasingly divided, and people are feeling lonelier than ever, the ability to meet and listen to a fellow human being becomes a victory in itself. “This exhibition is further evidence of this. We are getting support not only from our listeners but also from an institution. We want to express our thanks to the National Library for this nice space they have kindly allowed us to use as well as for the opportunity to introduce our works at the location that attracts crowds of people,” said the journalist sharing his excitement with the audience.

In his welcome address, Prof. Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas, Director General of the National Library, emphasized the courage, professionalism and ethical mind-set demonstrated by the journalists. “I congratulate your young and strong team who pursues a non-conventional approach to communication based on a value dimension. I admire you for your courage to experiment. Our National Library also experiments actively. The Library has become a place of creative processes where a lot is going on. We work hard and do a good job. We are just like you in this respect,” said Prof. Dr. Gudauskas.

The exhibition coordinator Gerda Paliušytė was excited about the fact that this event allowed the exhibition preparation team of the National Library to acquire unique experience. “This exhibition has given us new experience. It is a totally new genre. However, what impressed us most was the ethical approach and professionalism of the Nanook team rather than the technical aspects of preparing to present this journalistic project to the general public. The topic of social integration is a great challenge, especially when you implement it in practice and not just discuss it from a theoretical point of view. I see the activities of Nanook as an alternative form of education and I really hope that they will continue their work and I look forward to continued cooperation with them,” Paliušytė said.

The exhibition features works by Nanook photographers Berta Tilmantaitė, Artūras Morozovas, Severina Venckutė, and Karolis Pilypas Liutkevičius. The interview records were prepared by Karolis Vyšniauskas, Berta Tilmantaitė, Artūras Morozovas, and Martyna Šulskutė. The sound recordings were made by Katažina Bitowt and Martynas Gailius.

Everyone who are interested in the work of this team of professionals offering an alternative to traditional Lithuania journalism, who want to know more about “tough” topics often excluded from the mainstream or commercial media or want to experience a breath of fresh air in public communication, are welcome to attend this exhibition at the National Library. As pointed out by the director of the exhibition sponsor MailerLite, UAB, Ilma Nausėdaitė who has been an avid supporter of the concept of the Lithuanian podcast from the get-go, NYLA allows us to grow and to learn about the world, and you can never get enough of quality content.

The exhibition will run until 15 March.

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