October 30 – December 4, 2009
“Anastazija and Antanas Tamošaitis creative works:
tapestries, paintings and graphics“
Opening reception – 2009, October 30 th, Friday, 5:00 pm At Janina Monkute - Marks Museum & Gallery
The fruitful life of the spouses Tamošaitis, Anastazija and Antanas, may be divided into two periods: their life in pre-war Lithuania, and in Canada. Anastazija Mažeikaitė – Tamošaitienė (1910 – 1991) and Antanas Tamošaitis (1906 – 2005) were brought together and united by a common goal - to spread Lithuanian culture, to promote Lithuanian folk art, and to bring it back as a vital force in contemporary life.
From the moment they met in the early 1930s, they marched on shoulder-to-shoulder in their important work. The Tamošaitises were the only professional Lithuanian textile workers who created carpets and decorative textiles and arranged exhibitions of carpets, unique at those times (in 1935, 1937 and 1938 in Kaunas). The carpets of A. Tamošaitis and the national costumes of A. Tamošaitienė gained the highest awards at the world exhibitions in Paris (1937) and New York (1939), and at the international exhibition of crafts in Berlin (1938).
The activities of these artists were multi – faceted. Eight books from the series “Village Art,” compiled and edited in 1931-1939 by A. Tamošaitis, were the first serious attempt in independent Lithuania to systematize and adapt forms of folk art for craftworks created by villagers. The last book of this series, “Lithuanian Women’s National Costume” (1939), laid the foundations for further investigation of the national costume in Lithuania, since it was the first time traditional women’s clothes had been classified by ethnographic district. A. Tamošaitienė was a tireless assistant in the dissemination and propagation of folk art. She wrote methodical booklets and articles on Lithuanian folk textiles and needlework. She worked as an instructor of weaving in the courses organized by A. Tamošaitis, and as head of Home Industry Section in the Palace of Agriculture. Her courses encompassed all the regions of Lithuania – Aukštaitija, Dzūkija, Zanavykija, and Žemaitija, land of Klaipėda.
When the storms of war pushed them to the West, their educational and pedagogical activities did not slow down. In 1945 in Glasenbach, near Salzburg (Austria) they opened an art studio for Lithuanian youths who had also retreated from Lithuania. From 1946 until 1948, they both worked in Germany at the Art and Craft School they established in Freiburg. After moving to Montreal in 1948, A. Tamošaitienė established the Studio of Weaving and National Costume in the Center of YMCA, and from 1949 A. Tamošaitis was head of the Art and Craft Academy functioning in that Center.
In 1950, the couple settled in the private homestead near Kingston and dedicated their lives to creation. They painted, created graphic works, and wove gobelins. They took an active part in the work of the Institute of Lithuanian Folk Art which they founded. The Tamošaitises became unofficial ambassadors of Lithuanian culture in Canada.
Life abounded in vitality at their homestead, which became a center for Lithuanians in Canada and the USA who were unwilling to lose their roots. While living in Canada, the Tamošaitises wrote their book “Lithuanian National Costume” (1988), and A. Tamošaitis his book “Lithuanian Easter Eggs” (1982).
In 2000, A. Tamošaitis returned permanently to Lithuania. He donated to Lithuania his folk art collections he and his wife gathered in independent Lithuania, as well as the art works they produced themselves.