Jewish Women of Kaunas

Before the second World War, about one quarter of the population of Kaunas LIthuania was Jewish – about 30,000 people. Known in Yiddish as Kovno, it was a city As part of the City Telling Festival (Istoriju Festivalis) in 2020 a couple of large murals were painted in memory of a few of these people. This festival was one of the events leading up to 2022 where Kaunas was one of the “European Capitals of Culture”

below: Leja (or Leah) Goldberg, b. 1911, poet. It was painted by Lithuanian artist Linas Kaziulionis and it measures 15 by 10 meters. The text is one of her poems “Oren” (Pine) written in Hebrew and Lithuanian.

large mural on the side of a building, painted by Linas Kaziulionis, portrait of a woman, Leja Goldberg, a poet born in Lithuania.  Text of one of her poems is included in the mural, written in Hebrew on one side and in Lithuanian on the other

Goldberg was the daughter of Abraham and Cilia Goldberg. Her father was an economist at an insurance company before WW1. During the Great War (i.e. WW1), most of the Jews were “evacuated” from Lithuania and sent to the interior of Russia. Lea was three years old when the family was forcibly deported from Kaunas. When they returned after the war and the defeat of Germany, Lea’s father was tortured by Lithuanian soldiers who accused him of being a Communist. He died before Lea emigrated to Palestine in 1935; her mother followed her the next year.

One translation of the poem:


Here I will not hear the voice of the cuckoo.
Here the tree will not wear a cape of snow.
But it is here in the shade of these pines
my whole childhood reawakens.

The chime of the needles: Once upon a time –
I called the snow-space homeland,
and the green ice at the river’s edge –
was the poem’s grammar in a foreign place.

Perhaps only migrating birds know –
suspended between earth and sky –
the heartache of two homelands.

With you I was transplanted twice,
with you, pine trees, I grew –
roots in two disparate landscapes.

large mural on the side of a building, painted by Linas Kaziulionis, portrait of a woman, Leja Goldberg, a poet born in Lithuania.  Text of one of her poems is included in the mural, written in Hebrew on one side and in Lithuanian on the other

below: Another mural with a poem that was also part of the same festival. It was painted by Tadas Vincaitis-Plūgas. The is mural dedicated to another Jewish family that lived in Kaunas before WW2.

large mural of a mother and daughter, Rosian Bagriansky and her mother, painted by Tadas Vincaitis, on the side of a building in Kaunas Lithuania

The words are those of Hirsh Ošerovičius (1908-1994) written in 1964. The text is in Lithuanian but one English translation is:

Ah, do you really believe,
Oblivion has the final say in what is to be forgotten?
For it is often only an image from the ashes rising
And stand in flesh, in full reality
Forever framed for every day to come.

large mural of a mother and daughter, Rosian Bagriansky and her mother, painted by Tadas Vincaitis, on the side of a building in Kaunas Lithuania

The mural depicts a mother, Greta, and her daughter Rosian Bagriansky. Rosian was born in 1935 in Kaunas. Her father, Paul (or Polis) Bagriansky, was a textile merchant and her mother was a concert pianist and music teacher. Rosian survived the Holocaust after her parents dug a hole next to the fence of Kaunas Ghetto and pushed Rosian through it and into the hands of one of their former employees, Bronė Budreikaitė. Rosian became Irena Budreikaitė

Ain’t I A Woman?

This mural can be seen in Kingston NY.

Written in circles around the woman on the left are lines of poetry by Mahogany L. Browne

“you black girl magic
you black girl flyy
you black girl brilliance
you black girl wonder
you black girl shine
you black girl bloom
And you turning into a
beautiful black woman
right before they eyes”

The screen on the phone shows the portrait of another Black Woman, Sojourner Truth. The words written around her head are from a speech that she gave at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851. Over one hundred and fifty years ago. Sojourner Truth was calling on Black women, and all women, to fight for the right to vote. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave women that right but that didn’t come into being until 1920.

In a lot of ways, Sojourner Truth’s words ring true today. Has there ever been a time when women weren’t fighting for their rights in one way or another? The text:

“that man over there said women need to be helped into carriages and carried over ditches.
nobody ever helped me over a ditch or lifted me into a carriage
look at me! look at my arm!
I have ploughed, harvested and sowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me!
I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear trash as well.
I have born thirteen children, seen most all off to slavery and when I cried in my mothers grief no one but jesus heard me!
the first woman god ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn back and get right back up again!”

The mural was painted by Jess Snow and jetsonorama as part of the O+ Festival

Photos taken in July 2022

Jerome Street graffiti, Shoreditch

Just east of Commercial street in Tower Hamlets, Shoreditch is Jerome Street, one of many little streets in the area.  The old home of Godfrey Phillips Ltd, tobacco and cigarette manufacturers is at the corner of Jerome and Commercial.   The lower level with the red brick and large windows is now a restaurant.

a view up Jerome street, old industrial brick buildings.

below: It’s a bird, it’s a plane…. no it’s suit wearing mallards with proper footwear.   Face the Strange.

three face the strange stickers, men with mallard duck heads and wings and wearing suits, are flying

below: Go fly your kite with this cute teddy bear by unify.

a teddy bear paste up or stencil sits on the sidewalk. he is holding a kite string in his paw and the kite is above him on the wall. A green sticker says go fly your kite. The signature says unify. the word unify is written many times in the kite in different colours to make a design on the kite.

below: An assortment of stickers and paste ups.   A man with Mickey Mouse ears – Magic Kingdon, Join the Club.   Three of the posters are in Italian – one is mostly obscured by the skull, the one below the skull translates to “I have the memory of a goldfish” and the one above Mickey ears is a longer description of how this person can’t describe is love for another.  The poetry is the work of Movimento per l’Emancipazione della Poesia.

many pieces of street art, including a man wearing mickey mouse ears, a large grinning skull in yellow and orange, and poems written on posters in Italian.

below: A tribute to Prince

a paste up street art piece in tribute to the musician Prince, his head in profile in a heart with purple accents

below: Another assortment of stickers and paste ups.  Another Join the Club, Mickey mouse based paste up – this time with “Where dreams come true”.  Also, more Face the Strange but instead of flying ducks, we have fruit portraits.  Do men look better with grapes or oranges instead of faces?  I like the matching gloves on strawberry man.   Lastly, I think that’s Queen Elizabeth in the pink and blue poster, along with I made you a moron.  Think of it what you will.  I suspect that the Rebel Rabbet sticker was added later.

stickers and paste up street art on a metal box and wall on a street corner including 6 posters by Face the Strange where men's portraits have fruits instead of heads, orange, grapes, strawberry, banana, and apple. Two other paste ups as well.

below: Stick figures with something to say, even if it’s things like “Danger is only safe in pairs”, “Once all this was just a memory” and “You can’t paint a hen”.

black outlined stick figures with white word bubbles, two people and a dog.

below: The whole wall (fence)

brown wall with barbed wire across the top, covered with graffiti

below: Another view of the street

looking down a short narrow street with three or four storey brick buildings on either side, construction of a building at the end of the street, covered with green netting on the bottom, and white plastic on the top

below: London beach on construction hoardings

construction hoardings covered with street art, a Road closed sign is in front.

Photos taken in September 2016

Yeats poem, Sligo

On a wall in Sligo Ireland, written large, is a poem by William Butler Yeats.   It is called “When You are Old” and it goes like this:

a mural covers the side of a multistorey building, a woman's head and lines of poetry, When you are old by William Butler Yeats.


When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

below: A mural that is a portrait of the poet, William Butler Yeats on the side of house undergoing renovations.

city streets in Sligo Ireland with houses, pedestrians and road. A crane is being used to demolish the top part of a house. On the side of that house, exterior, is a large mural that is a portrait of the poet William Butler Yeats (W.B. Yeats)