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Exhibitions archive

“The Road to Freedom. Lithuania in the Years 1988–1991”

09.03.2020 – 14.06.2020

The Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania invites to the exhibition of photographs by Zenonas Nekrošius and Virgilijus Usinavičius.

The unique photographs show the highlights of the breakthrough moments in the history of Lithuania leading up to the restoration of Lithuania’s Independence. The photos captured the events that provide insight into our National Spirit and the tragic events surrounding Lithuania’s struggle for Freedom and also serve as a reminder for us to protect and cherish our independence as a nation. The photographers were in the thick of action, capturing the moment when the day of Independence dawned on 11 March 1990. For Lithuanians, it was the day of hope and freedom they struggled for, and for the Supreme Council of Lithuania, the day was marked by utmost responsibility and determination. It turned out to be a triumphant day when 124 deputies voted for the Act on the Re-establishment of the Independent Lithuanian State and six deputies abstained at 10:44 pm.

The Lithuanian population’s aspiration for freedom and their desire to restore the country’s Independence remained alive throughout the entire Soviet period manifesting itself in the partisan war, the unarmed anti-Soviet resistance as well as in the form of the underground press. This aspiration for Freedom, like a burst of spring energy, awoke the Nation and encouraged it to make the first steps towards Revival. Filled with this energy, we gathered for rallies, campaigns and pickets that attracted thousands of people. The will of the nation was reflected in the national flags being raised in various venues, in our hearts and before our eyes. When restoring monuments and creating the miracle of the Baltic Way, we chanted the words “Freedom for Lithuania!” Those unrepeatable moments of Lithuania’s journey to freedom were captured by the photographs who witnessed the triumph of Truth and Justice together with the nation. Besides the photographs by Z. Nekrošius and V. Usinavičius, the emotions of that time were also captured by Justinas Marcinkevičius, a poet and member of the Initiative Group of the Lithuanian Reform Movement and of the Parliament Council, who wrote the following words for a photography exhibition catalogue in 1991: “Behold, before our eyes, Lithuania is rising from the world of lies, violence, misery and darkness. From the place where it was destined to die, to disappear and to perish. <...> How big, beautiful and united Lithuania is in the light of Revival! It is already dressed in the robe of freedom; it is already rushing towards the light of independence glowing in the window of history. Freedom is the mother of goodness.”

This exhibition reminds us of the important and unrepeatable moments in the history of Lithuania.

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Photos of the exhibition ›