(Summer comment)Jealous inhabitant of Kaunas

www.kamane.lt, 2010 08 06

Building decorated by F.Paulauskas in Kėdainiai. Photo by V.Bečelis

In brief: White envy conquers my heart every time I take a walk in Kėdainiai old town: the houses are tidy, the streets are shining, historical squares have been reconstructed professionally, archaeologists are working and digging out some values from past centuries of the town. The discovered values soon become exhibited and attractive objects of the town.

New architecture of bold forms is incorporated in the space of the old town precisely and with moderation. Cars do not leave their wheels in streets of the town – drivers know that they will be able to do it in Kaunas.

Kėdainiai called “the capital of cucumbers” by inhabitants of Kaunas or Vilnius cities could serve as an example how the old town should be tidied up, how heritage and historical values should be exhibited so that they would attract people to the town, lure tourists and let the inhabitants of the town themselves be proud for their environment.

Installation of F.Paulauskas "Greeting of the Town" on a building in Kėdainiai. Photo by V.Bečelis

Installation of F.Paulauskas "Six Markets" on a building in Kėdainiai. Photo by V.Bečelis

Envy strikes even more painfully when one sees the ideas implemented independently by creative Kėdainiai inhabitants.

When I saw that an unfinished and forlorn building in Kėdainiai old town was turned into a snappy exposition of open-air installations by the “free artist” Feliksas Paulauskas, the famous ruins of Kaunas old town and centre arose in my eyes: houses in Palanga Street, the complex on the corner of Muitinės Str./Rotušės Sq., former Jewish Hospital near Kaunas Castle, Hansa warehouses and the entire quarter adjacent to Daugirdas Hotel, the rotting corner of the Independence Square at M.Žilinskas Gallery, etc., etc.

Hundreds of tourists pass these aesthetically disabled Kaunas objects every day. What are tourist guides saying to visitors of the city? “Look to the left, but don’t look to the right. Open your eyes now, and close your eyes now.”

The aforementioned Kėdainiai inhabitant has already covered several buildings of the town by his creative works: last year he decorated the facades of untidy buildings of Kėdainiai old town, in the place of which Scottish houses of the 17th and 18th century were located earlier, by buttons and nesting-boxes.

The house in Kėdainiai decorated by nesting-boxes and buttons by F.Paulauskas. Photo from kedainietis.lt

F.Paulauskas decorating the building by nesting-boxes and buttons. Photo from kedainietis.lt

Only several artists live in Kėdainiai, while hundreds of them abide in Kaunas. The difference in the number of creative enthusiasts who would turn their ideas into particular deeds could be similar. Or perhaps Kaunas city authorities do not give permits to show similar initiatives?

What would happen if we invited Feliksas from Kėdainiai to tidy up the falling-apart buildings of Kaunas old town artistically? Perhaps Kaunas inhabitants would start embellishing their city out of anger? Kaunas inhabitants are proud of their historical city. Then why are we losing for “the capital of cucumbers”?

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