Back in 2014, Vytenis Jakas decided to turn a residential courtyard into an art gallery.
below: Charlie Chaplin oversees the entrance to the yard. The black plaque above Chaplin’s head is in memory of Juda Zupavicius (1914-1944) who was a lieutenant in the Lithuanian military and a chief on the Kaunas ghetto police force. In 1941 the Jewish residents of this area were forced out and had to relocate to the Kaunas ghetto. Zupavicius was also one of the leaders of the underground resistance during WW2.
below: The words under the photo of the couple: „Čia 1939 m. – 1941 m. gyveno Dita ir Juda Zupavičiai. Juda buvo vienas iš Kauno geto pogrindžio vadovų, žiauriai nacistų kankintas neišdavė geto vaikų slėptuvių. Dita buvo kovos bendražygė“ (English translation: “Here in 1939 – 1941 lived Dita and Juda Zupavičiai. Juda was one of the underground leaders of the Kaunas ghetto, he was brutally tortured by the Nazis and did not reveal the hiding places of the ghetto children. Dita was a comrade in the struggle”)
below: Venus probably never had to do the grocery shopping
Upon noticing that the neighbours living in the yard had become alienated and had forgotten the common past of the yard, the artist Vytenis Jakas started creating a “Yard Gallery” – a courtyard surrounded by apartment buildings built in the inter-war period. In the past, the yard inhabitants knew each other well, communicated warmly, celebrated holidays together, and supported each other in troublesome times. The yard had a large table, a fountain and a sculpture, the Dapkevicius sisters grew flowers, and lilacs grew near the windows of the neighbour Regina. Over time, the population and the social environment changes, the number of cars increased, and the yard space became too small.
Seeing this situation, Vytenis Jakas, with the help of other artists and neighbours, turned the derelict yard into a centre of attraction, the open air “Yard Gallery”. Various artistic projects are implemented here: Portraits of the Jews who lived in this house before the Holocaust, along with the current residents, characters of various works are painted on the facades of the apartment buildings; mirror mosaics and stained glass windows are created, and community events are organised, with community festivals celebrated together. “