In Sunshine and Shadow Reflections on Lithuanian Immigrant Life
Winner of the Book Award of the International Oral History Assocation, Saulėje ir šešėlyje. In Sunshine and Shadow is a compelling first-generation Lithuanian-Australian migrant story told expressively through historical and contemporary photographic images and texts which bring forth many voices. In this art book, expressive authorial prose brings together the immigrants’ oral histories, photographs, Lithuanian immigrant writers’ poems, and songs reflecting a centuries-long cultural tradition. The Lithuanians were amongst the earliest continental European immigrants to Australia – Displaced Persons – in the aftermath of World War Two. The immigrant influx for succeeding decades eventually changed Australia’s British society and assimilationist expectations. The story resonates with the experiences of all migrant groups. It reveals unknown or forgotten Australian and Queensland history, and the Lithuanian experience, from trauma and flight from their Soviet-annexed homeland to return visiting after independence was regained after almost fifty years. The work overcomes the immigrants’ silence of the past: their pain, loss, endurance and accomplishment are expressed with quiet dignity. Their migration and settlement are conveyed within a rich Lithuanian cultural milieu, and the warmth experienced in their adopted Australian homeland.
This high quality, hard-cover, section sewn book of 352 pages holds 71 restored historical photographs and 113 contemporary images – portraits, objects, documents, home environments and sub-tropical landscapes – printed on silk finish art paper. Nine chapters offer discrete text essays, curated photographic image essays, and two poems or songs embedded in linen imagery. The linens separate text and image essays: one moves through discrete, visually quiet rooms. Poems and songs enrich and weave the narrative and provided moments to pause and reflect.
This book was supported by grants received from Brisbane City Council, the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the Australian Lithuanian Foundation Inc., and the Lithuanian Government, through the Father Bačinskas Lithuanian Cultural Association Inc. It is written in both Lithuanian and English.