Aušra Barzdukaitė-Vaitkūnienė , 2008 06 27A.Vaitkūnas. "A Window and Lilac Bush", 1983-91, canvas, oil, 160x120cmIn brief: The trip of Arūnas in Samogitia in 1984 or 1985 is one of the most mysterious stages of his life. Perhaps it was a painful trip towards his spirit. Perhaps it was a trip god knows where of a lonely man caused by resignation.Arūnas told later: “I was so lonely and alone that I did not know what to do. I wandered between Dovainonys and Kaunas. I used to lay down to sleep at night and it seemed that my body was falling apart and eroding into thousands of tiniest pieces. Most probably it is the feeling when one is dying. When I was woken up by the signing of birds in the morning, I could not stand their chatter. The world crumbled down, painting fell into smallest separate strokes. I lost integrity.I stayed in Kaunas, in my mother’s flat. I tried to read. I looked out through the window, it was afternoon already. I thought I would be going anywhere. I took my rucksack, some money and headed to the bus station. I chose the direction of Samogitia because of some reason. I took a bus and left.”Such spiritual turning-points are familiar to every creative person. If one assumes responsibility to create, walk at the border and dip into existence, one also needs to accept pain, as only then creation is full-fledged. Such as works of Arūnas. He loved repeating the words of Justinas Mikutis said to artists: “Do you want to live conveniently and well and to paint at the same time? This will not happen, you have to choose!”These words were like a tonometer for him.It is hard to say what spiritual status took rule of Arūnas. I know that he suffered and felt pained then.He started his lonely trip in Samogitia from Medvėgalis hill then. He used to walk all days and sleep in hay stacks at night. Summer nights were warm. He drew in his notebook. One rainy day he asked a villager for a bed. Arūnas was allowed to sleep on the hay. They started speaking in the morning.Arūnas remembered: “Samogitians do not open up to strangers quickly. Still, later, when they know you, they may sacrifice everything to you.”He told that man about his trip and the Samogitian invited Arūnas to his home asking to stay and rest for several days. He cooked omelette and fed him well.Arūnas gave all his heart for the trip. He became a pilgrim that had nothing. The spiritual pain flagged, and a direction appeared.He met a strange man while walking via field and forest paths. He looked like a hermit. The artist met the protection of the ancestors’ spirit. Arūnas knew how to speak to such people. Fate sent people-symbols and signs-metaphors to him during the trip.The man showed a small forest where they gathered some edible boletuses. Evening approximated. They both set a fire. The man cut several branches of juniper, made a string of boletuses, bard, onion. He cooked the supper and had some home-made vodka. He told Arūnas about the secret paths of Lithuanian oracles in swamps, he showed by his hand where the forest hid stones of an ancient pagan temple. The night came and mist descended.In the morning they drank some tea and bid farewell. Paths led farther; sometimes they made circles, turned to Sakeliai lake, Žadeikiai chapel, Pavandenė. The road reached Tverai, Varniai, Seda, Barstyčiai, Gegrėnai.Arūnas painted chapels built near roads, wooden churches, headless angels in village graveyards. He travelled on. Later he told: “When I was walking along the road, some distant illuminated window of a cottage attracted me the most. The window of this warm orange light seemed like the symbol of happiness and cosy life in the blue space of the evening.”The summer calculated the last days. As Arūnas told, “Nights grew colder. In the morning the dew was bigger and bigger. The mist became more frequent... I felt that I had to go home.”He returned as a different person. Samogitia read a sermon to his soul and left the constant invitation to return. His creative works gained new colours.

Read comments
Write your comment