Dean Pape: Your exhibition SENDING LOVE is currently being shown in the NGCA Collection Space, many congratulations!
The inclusion of photographs made over the last 7 years, as well as recently made work, gives the viewer an insight into your journey of discovering yourself and your community. Was this your intention?
Janina Sabaliauskaite: Yes, this exhibition is a personal reflection on my journey as an artist, a creator and a collaborator. I wanted to show the important and treasured moments I shared with people who inspired me, opened up to me, and who I admire and love but also to be visible myself. Having met those people prompted me to fully accept who I am. Selecting the photographs for SENDING LOVE was a complicated and intense process because, over the years, I have taken so many photographs, and each one of them speaks of a beautiful, meaningful connection. I knew I wanted to create a show which is celebratory, but also focus on intimacy and sensuality.
DP: Could you talk a little about your installation and curation of the NGCA Collection Space – it’s a circular, darkened and perhaps intimate space and you present a range of photographic approaches and formats. How did you approach curating the work?
JS: I was playing with a given space – I wanted it to feel organic, create a flow, a collage of my life. It was interesting to think outside the white cube. I am interested in archives. I wanted to include so much, like related materials, LGBT+ magazines, that I made with my friends, love letters, posters, but I had to stop myself. There is so much I want to celebrate. For example, community organising and community run spaces, like Emma Social Centre in Kaunas, Sapfo Queer Feminist Festival (the only one in Baltics), Išgirsti: Queer Archive in Vilnius, activities that happen in them, books, music, rich and vibrant and still underground culture.
DP: I found it interesting that you also used the exterior walls of this space. Could you talk about where this meets the intention of the work potentially leading to access with wider audiences?
JS: SENDING LOVE consists of layers. On the outside, the viewer encounters empowerment, mostly life size portraits but when making a choice to enter the inside of the Collection Space, they are met with vulnerability and intimacy, they have to come closer, and see It is a division of public and private, and to show the private is a political statement in itself.