Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby jarkko » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:41 pm

Below is a part of the blog essay Present to Leonard. And to us all by Inna Rogatchi, published today August 31st 2019 in The Times of Israel. Here we get a lot of new information about the sculpture (also the size of it: full-size).

Read the whole article at
https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/present ... to-us-all/
I will also copy it later tonight to the news section, with kind permission of the author. Inna discusses, among other things, our Bench on Hydra.
... On August 31, there will be a special ceremony in Vilnius, Lithuania. On this ceremony in the inner court of the nice street of the Vilna Old Town, a sculpture of Leonard would be unveiled, the first in the world. Everybody who saw the image of the sculpture and those who knew Leonard, just loved it. It simply charming, and it does bear the fine features of Leonard’s character, his special fleure so very well. Besides, it is simply a very good art.

I am sure that Leonard would be terrified of the idea of making him in stone, he was organically modest; but I also know that he would understand it and appreciate the very best intentions of the people who did it. He was also organically respectful towards the people because he loved and understood them. “ A real Cohen”, – as my husband still says on him.

The sculptor who created this first in the world full-size figure memorial of the legendary poet and singer, Romualdas Kvintas, was a very special person, too. Unfortunately, he would not be there on the unveiling ceremony. Kvintas passed away in October 2018 after his short battle against aggressive cancer. He was just 66. Leonard’s sculpture was one of his last five works. It was finalised by young sculptor Martynas Gabuas, on his own initiative, as Elge Kvintiene, Romualdas’ widow has told me.

Image
Sculptor Romualdas Kvintas. With kind permission of Elge Kvintiene.

This very well known in Lithuania and Europe sculptor also have had an open heart on his palm, just like Leonard. That’s why this sculpture is so authentic, I think. Kvintas is known for his iconic by now works commemorating legendary Jewish Doctor Cemach Sabad in the heart of Vilna, and many other works dedicated to the Jewish people, our history, and the memory of the Holocaust. Among those works are both very touching and so strong sculptures in Seduva which are part of the ongoing The Lost Shtetl Museum and Memorial Centre there, a unique project conveying our loving memory to the vanished, or rather, annihilated world and its people.

As for his sculpture of Cohen, Kvintas has worked on it for five years, and one can see that the fine features of every kind of this rare piece of art demands such time, indeed. At some stage of the work, Norwegian businessman and philanthropist John Afseth saw the sculpture of Leonard Cohen’s in making and proposed to support the undertake financially. On Saturday 31st, he would be there at the unveiling ceremony together with his Lithuanian wife Austrine Baronaite who did support the project, too.

They would be joined by the Vilnius mayor Remigijus Simasius and his wife who both took the case of erecting the sculpture of Leonard Cohen in Vilna close to their hearts. Currently, the Vilnius City Administration is looking for a permanent visible place to this sculpture in the capital of Lithuania where the Cohen’s family is from. Egle Kvintiene, widow of sculptor Romualdas Kvintas, mentioned that she is surprised that the sculpture would be the first one in the world. I am not.

Leonard is very popular in Lithuania, always was and will be, I think; the same as Joseph Brodsky. There is a strata of intellectuals there which marks the cultural and psychological landscape of this place full of dramas and filled with richness of thought and culture through generations. I might be subjective in this, but this is what I feel and how I know and understand this place being a Litvak, as my husband is, and as Leonard Cohen was.

The reaction of the people in Lithuania regarding the appearance of the first in the world sculpture of Leonard Cohen in their capital it is what makes me smile. “What an amazing inspiration for us, for the city, for the capital of the country where the Cohen’s family is! What an honour it is, to us” – says one my friend, the head of the UNESCO office of the Old City, Gediminas Rutkauskas. “He makes it to Vilnius finally, Inna”, – told another dear friend, director of the Vilnius Public Jewish Library Zilvinas Beliauskas who loves Cohen and understands him in a mode of an atomic precision. Zilvinas dreamed of inviting Leonard to Vilnius, and we did even undertake some first steps with regard to that, but it was at the time when Leonard was already fragile, and ever delicate Zilvinas did not like to put an extra pressure upon his favourite man.

He makes it to Vilnius, Zilvinas, and he will be there for good, with that smile, and that fine gestures, and that smashy poetry that comes as if from our own inside , just we did not know the exact formulation until hearing it from him in a mixture of revelation and joke. And with that heart on palm directed towards all of us, every one, in his attentive and slightly boyish dealing with humanity. There are people who never age, 85 or what, because the degree of hope inside them is higher than average and it hardly gets diminished. Like in real Cohens.

What a present to us all, on Leonard’s 85th birthday.

August 2019 (C) Inna Rogatchi

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Inna Rogatchi is internationally acclaimed writer, scholar and film-maker, the author of widely prized film on Simon Wiesenthal The Lessons of Survival. Her professional trade-mark is inter-weave of history, culture and mentality. She is the author of the concept of the Outreach to Humanity cultural and educational projects conducted internationally by The Rogatchi Foundation of which Inna is the co-founder and President. She is the wife of the world renowned artist Michael Rogatchi. Inna's family is related to the famous Rose-Mahler musical dynasty. Her professional interests are focused on Jewish heritage, Holocaust and post-Holocaust, arts and culture. She is twice laureate of the Italian Il Volo di Pegaso Italian National Art, Literature and Music Award, the Patmos Solidarity Award, and the New York Jewish Children's Museum Award for Outstanding Contribution into the Arts and Culture (together with her husband). Inna Rogatchi is the member of the Board of the Finnish National Holocaust Remembrance Association.
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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby MarieM » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:48 am

This was posted on Twitter:
Vaidotas Beniušis
@BeniusisV
A statue of singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen unveiled in #Lithuania, his mother's birthplace
Pictured: Remigijus Šimašius and Renaldas Vaisbrodas
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statue2.jpg
statue1.jpg
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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby B4real » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:58 am

Lisa, it's really OK to say what you think about this statue and I can see where you're coming from. It doesn't matter if anyone knows the technical aspects of art or not - they know how they feel and that really is what art should make people do.

In my art studio I have had for many years two sayings blue-tacked in a prominent place that remind me every day before I pick up a pencil or brush –

"The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance" ~ Aristotle
"A beautiful picture attracts attention, but a picture with something to say sustains interest" ~ unknown

Actually, these quotes are on one of my studio furniture pieces which was originally an old item from a church where the priests used to keep their robes, communion service gear and other items. There’s still evidence of candle wax on the large shelf below the quotes.
IMG_0086a.jpg
And regards the statue, sure, I would have done it differently but still trying to adhere to the principles above. The artist has done this most convincingly by communicating much feeling through his own vision at that particular vulnerable time in his own way and style. Vive les différences!
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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby Geoffrey » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:27 am

B4real wrote:Lisa, it's really OK to say what you think about this statue and I can see where you're coming from. It doesn't matter if anyone knows the technical aspects of art or not - they know how they feel and that really is what art should make people do.
I agree. Lisa has done nothing to feel bad about. I have always liked her. All she did was confirm that the statue is art.
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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby LisaLCFan » Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:48 pm

Thank you, Bev and Geoffrey, I really appreciate your comments and support, it is very nice of you.

It seems that some people think that it is not acceptable to voice a negative opinion about a piece of art, but that it is okay to personally attack and castigate a person for expressing it.
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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby Justinas » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:38 pm

Here are some pictures from opening ceremony.

https://www.facebook.com/z.justinas/pos ... 3343399449
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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:35 pm

My first impression was a bit negative. Why, I thought, is the statue's coat so old and worn looking, Leonard would never present himself like that?

Several days later I looked back and read some of the comments, and they allowed me reconcile this conundrum: in his later years the impeccable wardrobe we all viewed from the outside was but a disguise for the realities of old age the man had to deal with on the inside.

There are always things to be learned here. Thanks for the education!

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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby MarieM » Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:51 am

https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/1 ... in-vilnius

LRT
Capital of rock 'n' roll: sculpture of Leonard Cohen unveiled in Vilnius
BNS
2019.09.02

A sculpture to Leonard Cohen, the late Canadian singer, songwriter and poet of Jewish origin, was unveiled in Vilnius on Saturday in tribute to his Lithuanian roots.

As part of a private initiative, a bronze sculpture for the Canadian singer will temporarily stand in the courtyard of a restaurant, but the city authorities vowed to find a permanent place for it.

Norwegian businessman John Afseth, a resident of Vilnius for the past 15 years, was behind the idea. He says his vision for the city is making it a global capital of rock 'n' roll with dozens of sculptures of global stars.

“Vilnius needs to find its soul. I have a crazy idea for the city to become a global rock 'n' roll capital,” Afseth told BNS during the unveiling event on Saturday.

The life-size sculpture of Cohen was unveiled by Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius and his psychologist wife Agnė Matulaitė.

Cohen's mother was born in Kaunas in 1905 and was a daughter of a Jewish rabbi. The family emigrated to Canada in 1927.

Cohen was born in Canada's second-largest city Montreal in 1934 and later lived in California for many years. He passed away in November 2016 at the age of 82.

Cohen himself never visited Lithuania.

The sculpture to Cohen was designed by the Lithuanian sculptor Romualdas Kvintas who died following a long disease last year.

A sculpture of another music legend, Frank Zappa, was unveiled in Vilnius more than 20 years ago, and a sculpture of John Lennon appeared in the city several years ago.

Afseth says his next plan is to erect a monument to the Jewish-American singer Bob Dylan.


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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby mutti » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:19 am

At first when I saw the sttue I didn't "get" it or like it but after sitting with it awhile I realized it resonated with me deeply. I had a glimpse of an expression we have seen a lot of (on video or in person) when he was listening to the other musicians or singers on stage deep in a trance almost listening... To me that was it and I felt the connection.
I would love to see it in person.
My grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather and family were all from Kaunas in Lithuania. I recently discovered their names and graves so its touching to me on that level as well.

Lisa I think its totally fine to say what one feels on this forum and I support you and anyone for telling their truth. I like to think this is a safe place to express our opinions.
Thanks for sharing this Jarkko & Marie.
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Last edited by mutti on Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby Geoffrey » Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:47 pm

mutti wrote:I think its totally fine to say what one feels on this forum and I support . . . anyone for telling their truth.
yes, as long as it's not abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-orientated, because that could get you immediately and permanently banned - according to the entrance rules.
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Re: Leonard Cohen's statue will be unveiled in Vilnius

Postby jarkko » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:02 pm

A short video of the statue:
https://www.euronews.com/2019/09/11/leo ... gG-_9M-j1A


EURONEWS:
A statue of late singer Leonard Cohen — said to be the first in the world — has been unveiled in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

Both of Cohen's grandfathers hailed from Lithuania, but the Canadian musician never visited the country himself. Cohen, who died in 2016, was born in Montreal to the daughter of a Jewish rabbi from Kaunas in 1934, seven years after she emigrated to Canada at the age of 22. His paternal grandfather was the founder of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Statues of Frank Zappa and John Lennon, neither of whom have ties to the country, are also a big tourist draw in Lithuania.

The monument to Cohen came about as an initiative of a Norwegian businessman John Afseth who has lived in Vilnius for the past 15 years and is married to a Lithuanian. He says he has plans to erect nine more sculptures of world-famous musicians in the city, starting with Bob Dylan.
Thanks to Justinas for the link
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