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The Third “MO x Erudito” Art Projects Presentation Impresses Art Connoisseurs: “The Works Are Very Strong”

On May 17th, on Children’s Day, the final presentation of the art projects “Embodied Emotions” for grades 5-10 took place at the MO Museum.

A total of 26 student groups from Vilnius and Kaunas (more than 80 students) presented the best art projects selected by juries, reflecting various emotions: drawings, paintings, collages, sculptures, design and architectural objects, technology, street art, photography, video art, games, and more.

Variety of Forms Surprises

In her welcome speech, MO Museum Director Milda Ivanauskienė expressed joy over the three-year partnership between the MO Museum and Erudito Licėjus. “It’s heartening to see how art helps to communicate and discuss even the less comfortable and cozy topics,” said Milda Ivanauskienė. According to the head of Erudito Licėjus, this long-term partnership with the MO Museum aids in seeking creative innovations in education. “It’s a sort of laboratory where we create ourselves, involve our teachers, and look for new forms and ideas on how to make education inclusive, original, and give opportunities for self-expression during learning. That’s our major goal,” stated Associate Professor Dr. N. Pačėsa.

The director of the MO Museum emphasized that art not only facilitates communication but also helps in self-reflection. “Scientists have proven that art improves well-being, enhances psychological resilience, and strengthens mental health. We will discuss this at the MO Museum this autumn with a major exhibition,” revealed Ivanauskienė. “Today, through your works, through art, you’ve tried to convey various emotions. We saw a wide range of emotions in your creations—anger, sadness, pride, and calm. As we know, there are no good or bad emotions; they all provide information about our boundaries and needs.”

The MO Museum Director, Milda Ivanauskienė, was particularly impressed by the diversity of forms: “It is delightful to see the diverse expressions and forms of representing emotions—sculpture, painting, sound, and video art. It is a multi-layered and powerful exhibition.”

The MO Museum Director, Milda Ivanauskienė: “It is a multi-layered and powerful exhibition.”

Associate Professor Dr. Nerijus Pačėsa, founder and director of Erudito Licėjus, also rejoiced in the variety of ideas and forms. He likened this final art project to the cherry on top, where students present their original thoughts, ideas, and visions in various forms. “Everything we saw, heard, and felt today is very original. However, being original and unique requires a lot of courage—it’s not always comfortable to voice a bolder, different opinion or thought, nor is it always easy to present oneself in an unconventional way. Being brave means not being afraid to make mistakes. Art is a very conducive environment for this because there are no mistakes in art, only new ideas and ways of expressing them. The world awaits bold and original people, so do not be afraid to be them and be proud of yourselves because what you do is wonderful!” said Pačėsa.

Art Helps Express Various, Even Uncomfortable, Emotions

In the exhibition of the best works by middle school students of Erudito Licėjus, we could see emotions such as pride, love, joy, and peace embodied in the artworks. However, a lot of attention was given to less joyous but universally experienced emotions: fear, rage, anger, indifference, abandonment, and others. Presenting their works, students emphasized that all emotions are normal and that art helps to express and better understand them, even to a point of embracing them. According to the young artists, it is even easier to depict darker emotions in art. For instance, students from Vilnius’s 5A class, Agota Paliokaitė, Patricija Pietaitė, and Simas Tenys, chose to embody fear because everyone has experienced fear at some point, everyone has been afraid of something. Painting is particularly conducive to expressing emotions, so the fifth graders chose this genre, depicting a bloodshot eye through a keyhole to symbolize how fear can be recognized through the gaze.

Kaunas 7A class students Liepa Jermalavičiūtė and Emilė Bajorinaitė also chose painting and technology to express emotions, illustrating peace and relaxation through the anticipation of holidays, with a beach scene in blue and sand colors. For their piece ‘Relax on the Beach’, they used sand from a future house construction and shells from the seaside to enhance the state of relaxation and tranquility. Meanwhile, students from 8T class presented a triptych about loneliness (‘Loneliness – Triptych’), depicting it as an emotion that starts to “blossom” from positive feelings and encourages inner rebirth. Kaunas 9T class students Mariia Ponomarenko and Adriana Sprangauskaitė created a street art-inspired painting ‘Bare Skin, Bare Thoughts’. This work is complemented by the street art piece ‘Rage’ by Joris Jovaiša, Nikita Panov, Augustinas Drėgva, and Dominykas Birickis from Kaunas’s 9A class.

The painting ‘Pride’ by Vilnius 7B class uses different glass pieces to show multiple perspectives and moods. Vilnius 8A class ‘Collage Artists’ embodied various emotions through collage in their work ‘Embodied Emotions’, which reveals a different emotion each time it is viewed, serving as a kaleidoscope of feelings. “We wanted to create a sort of cover for this whole project,” commented Jokūbas Pašiušis, Gabrielė Trusevičiūtė, Tomas Laukaitis, and Aura Staškevičiūtė.

Barbora Bartkutė from Kaunas Erudito Licėjus’ 5B class surprised everyone with a design model of a ‘Fifth Grader’s Room’, embodying the feeling of tranquility through nature objects that she would like to see in her peers’ rooms. Sixth-grader Airida Koržovaitė from Kaunas depicted tranquility on a denim jacket, decorating it with slogans and words about peace. This is the first fashion design object from a student interested in fashion, and we believe it will not be the last.

There were also more design and architecture objects: Vilnius 6A class designers Vilius Vasiliauskas, Saulė Kedytė, Danas Malinauskas, and Rapolas Jasiūnas chose to depict an ‘Aviation Museum’ and the sadness and concern about the environmental damage caused by airplanes. Architecture can also express feelings of harmony and pride. This is demonstrated by the modernist work ‘Proud Architecture’ by Vilnius 6B class team Lėja Zinkevičiūtė, Gustė Marcinonytė, and Elija Urbanavičiūtė. According to the project creators, pride in architecture manifests in various ways, from the creation of the architecture itself to its influence on society and culture: “Architecture can evoke various emotions – from admiration and wonder to nostalgia or respect.” Environmental psychologists suggest that we encounter architecture daily, affecting our emotions and behavior, and the best emotional state can be ensured by balanced architecture characterized by symmetry and eye-catching motifs.

According to the sixth graders, creating interesting and unique architecture showcases human creativity and innovation possibilities, while modern buildings with innovative structures and functions evoke great admiration. “Properly planned and designed prominent architectural projects can create an environment that enriches cultural heritage and promotes sustainable development in the future. Buildings using renewable energy sources, efficiently utilizing natural resources, with simplicity, balanced proportions, and natural materials, evoke a sense of peace and inner harmony,” the creators presented their 3D drawing.

Architecture and drawing were combined by Vilnius 7C class student Augustė Kurpytė in ‘Left behind’, depicting abandonment as uniquely beautiful, inspired by the completely abandoned Japanese island of Hashima, where there is no nature.

Audio and video art pieces were also well received: a rap about anger and history by Vilnius 6B class team created using artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, an audio and video piece about fear by Vilnius 7A class team ‘Scared Musicians’, Kaunas 7A class student Barbora Savickaitė’s light installation ‘Fear’, a video ‘Love is Everything’ by Kaunas 9A class team Vincas Tamošiūnas, Liepa Pačėsaitė, Kotryna Valuntaitė, and Silvija Žukaitė; a photography project ‘Picture Full of Happiness’ by Vilnius 9A class team, and ‘Loneliness, Fear, Sadness’ in photos by Kaunas 10A class team; sculptures: ‘Eruption of the Anger Fountain’ by Vilnius 8A class team, an anger-inducing alarm clock printed on a 3D printer by Vilnius 8B class, ‘The Fate of Love’ by Vilnius 8T class student Olga Maria Guzauskas Prokofieva, and ‘Powerlessness’ by Kaunas 8T student Anastasia Kholodkova. Vilnius 8B class students Vėtrūnė Adomavičiūtė, Marija Bernatavičiūtė, Elzė Janulevičiūtė, and Arielė Kiškytė presented the game ‘Emotion Carousel’: the team explained that they participated in the conference last year, where they also presented a game, but this year they improved the project and presented a game helping to understand all five emotions, created also with sustainability in mind – from recycled textiles and wooden cards.

The art project conference was aptly summarized by the video piece ‘What is Art to Me?’ by Vilnius 10A class team Amelija Valiulytė, Beatričė Baltaduonytė, Bernardas Leščinskas, and Alanas Semionovas.

Parents evaluated the benefits of project-based learning

At the annual art project conference, three participants and teams were awarded special MO Museum nominations: Kaunas 5B class student Barbora Bartkutė for ‘Fifth Grader’s Room Design’, Kaunas 9T class students Mariia Ponomarenko and Adriana Sprangauskaitė for the painting ‘Bare Skin, Bare Thoughts’, and Kaunas 8T student Anastasia Kholodkova for the sculpture ‘Powerlessness’.

The artistic value and uniqueness of the students’ works were also appreciated by parents and the school community. A mother of tenth-grader Beatrice and seventh-grader Mykolas shared on social media after the presentation: “This morning I spent at the MO Museum, not for an exhibition curated by serious adults, but to watch Erudito Licėjus’ students present their works. Paintings, graphics, collages, sculptures, video and audio installations—the works are very strong. Mykolas’ classmates presented a painting ‘Pride’, and described this feeling through art. This filled me with pride. We can truly be proud of such brave, free, creative children. Collaboration with MO is one of the most fantastic ways to conduct lessons, to see how this generation reveals itself not by copying from textbooks, but by creating, searching, and exploring.” A mother interested in art was most impressed by the eighth-grader A. Kholodkov’s sculpture ‘Powerlessness.’

Another mom of two students from the Erudito Licėjus, Asta, was most impressed by the students’ different approach to art. She has been involved in her children’s artistic education since they were young, visiting galleries together. “I am impressed by the school’s approach of giving special attention to project-based activities. This is very important in the lives of modern children and is closely related to the competencies they will need in the future. Observing the presentations, I was delighted by how brave and free the children are, and how clearly they express their thoughts.”

Other guests interviewed at the event also emphasized the strong works and the students’ ability to clearly articulate their emotions, understand themselves, and reflect. “I believe this is a positive result of the modern education system and its efforts,” said one of the presentation attendees, Vilnius University Faculty of Philosophy lecturer Dr. Renata Bikauskaitė.