A Rendezvous with Famous Émigré Lithuanians

July 20, 2019

The photo exhibition by the Lithuanian-American photographer Algimantas Kezys (1928-2015) which was opened this summer at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania presents the portraits of more than 20 famous Lithuanian diaspora figures taken in various places, mostly in the US, from 1961 to 1966.

Among them are famous artists, composers, singers, sculptors, actors, photographers, clergymen, writers, and scientists, such as the composer, musicologist and organizer of the first Lithuanian Song Festivals Prof. Juozas Žilevičius, artists Vytautas Kasiulis, Česlovas Janušas, Žibuntas Mikšys and Viktoras Petravičius, sculptors Antanas Mončis and Petras Aleka, writer and art critic Jonas Grinius, composer Bruno Markaitis, philosopher Dr. Povilas Rėklaitis, actors Algimantas Dikinis, Nijolė Martinaitytė-Nelson and Jonas Kelečius, photographer Vytautas Maželis, Jesuit and poet Leonardas Andriekus, writer Romas Spalis, soloist Stasys Baras-Baranauskas, choir conductor Alice Stephens, and others.

Algimantas Kezys left Lithuania in 1944. In 1961, he was ordained as a Jesuit priest. In Chicago, he founded the Lithuanian Photo Archive and the Lithuanian Library Press. For several years, Kezys headed the Lithuanian Youth Center in Chicago. He edited and published books and photo albums. Kezys’ works consist of color and black and white photography. The artist had more than 60 personal exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad. His works were highly praised in the Lithuanian and foreign press. In 1964, he began to organize personal photo exhibitions at the Čiurlionis Gallery in Chicago and other Lithuanian communities in the US. In 1965, Kezys was invited to exhibit his works at the Art Institute of Chicago, followed by other prominent art centers in America, Europe, and the Far East.

Silvija Stankevičiūtė