Andrew Miksys July 13, 2009Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lithuania.
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Spartak, Lithuania, 2006
Andrew Miksys (b.1969) is a native of Seattle, Washington. His photography has been shown internationally including exhibitions at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Center (CAC/SMC) in Vilnius, and De Appel Contemporary Arts Center in Amsterdam. In 2002 he was selected by Photo District News (PDN) as one of the “top 30 emerging photographers ” and in 2006 he was featured in Slate magazine as Slate’s “Artist of the Month”. In 2007 he published, BAXT, a book of photographs from his series about the Lithuanian Roma (Gypsy) community. Miksys has also been the recipient of grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2000), the J. William Fulbright Program (1998 and 2002) and the Aaron Siskind Foundation (2009). He currently divides his time between the USA and Vilnius, Lithuania.
About the Photograph:
“BAXT is a Roma (Gypsy) word that translates to English as fate or fortune. This is Spartak (Spartacus). I photographed him in a very small Lithuanian village where there is only one Roma family. I had set my camera up to photograph the doorway of the house with the lace curtain and little heart drawings on the door, when Spartak stepped in front of my camera wanting to be photographed. I really liked the contrast between his tough guy poses and the flowered curtain and hearts. I ended up shooting several rolls of film. Spartak was named after a soldier sold into slavery to fight as a gladiator but escaped to lead a successful slave rebellion against the Romans. During the Soviet Union this was a popular name, a metaphor for the working class which was also freed from its “chains.” Of course, the Roma are another historically beaten and battered people, but their pride and strength has helped them survive and keep their culture alive.”