European Prospects
Exploring European Identity through Photography

Eugenijus Barzdzius

http://europeanprospects.org/sites/default/files/styles/editorial/public?itok=C5GNKd7z

Eugenijus Barzdzius

Eugenijus Barzdzius

Biography

Eugenijus Barzdžius was born in Šiauliai city, Lithuania. While he was in secondary school he started an evening art school,  right after he began to study BA Academic Art and Graphic Design at Siauliai university, Lithuania. In the first months there he discovered photography was a passion. While studying at university an opportunity was taken to become better as a young photographer at a local newspaper, and just after a few months later a major national newspaper hired him. After graduation he migrated to Denmark. In 2010  Barzdžius enrolled as a BA student at University of Wales, Newport, U.K., Documentary Photography course, from which graduated in 2013. He is now a freelance photographer working on my long term projects. 

Portfolio Harvest of Wetland

In 2002, frustrated with the long journey to legal allotments on the outskirts of the City, a self-governed space was established by a group of pensioners on a piece of wetland in Šiauliai city, Lithuania. The 15 elderly people occupied the land, built demarcation lines, erected buildings from scrap materials and dug out a drainage system to create a working allotment.
Every Spring and Autumn, they collectively hire a tractor to plough the land after the last cabbage was harvested or just before the potato planting. Homeless people would sometimes devastate buildings and greenhouses, only for the pensioners to quickly rebuild them from anything they could gather.
For some the allotment is a source of vegetables, berries, fruits that are conserved or pickled for winter. Jars of self-cultivated products are a huge supply for their tables, as a supplement to the meager state given pension that fails to fill stomachs. For others it is kind of a therapy…to escape from four flat walls, to keep the connection with Earth and to prepare the ground for the next generation.

Portfolio Killing time

Lithuania joined the European Union in 2004. This resulted in a rapid increase in emigration as people sought a higher standard of living. In 2010 more than 83.000 people emigrated from Lithuania. That was the biggest emigration wave from the country. According to the Lithuanian ‘National Statistics Department’, the most popular countries for emigration are the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. To meet the travel needs of those Lithuanian people that live and work in the UK and Ireland, an informal network of mini-buses has developed, delivering parcels from door-to-door. People are transported also and usually with no insurance. The journey is often very uncomfortable and sleeping is uncomfortable as passengers are seated throughout the journey, which takes 35 or more hours. Usually two drivers drive the mini-bus continuously. In order to make the business more profitable the trips often involve some smuggling and people transportation. The extent of the project is seen through a wider exploration of the nature of these extended journeys, including extreme tiredness, alcohol, as well as giving an insight into an industry that often operates on the fringes of an often exploitative and manipulative cheap labour market.

Publications

Publications: 

2014 01 – Published multilingual photo book ‘Ora et Labora. Palendriai‘, visual narrative exploring benidictine monestery life at Palendriai, Lithuania.

2013 08 – Publication in Vice Magazine, The first Danish issue.

2013 06 – Publication in British Journal of Photography (Volume 160 Issue No 7813)

2013 06 – Publication in Photo District News (Volume XXXIII Issue 06)

 

Exhibitions: 

2014 – Part of Celebrating Europe exhibition at Kaunas Photography Gallery, Lithuania. Curated and produced by Kaunas Photography Gallery, the exhibition is an outcome of the European collaboration project European Prospects.

2014 – Selected for the official Copenhagen Photo Festival 2014 programme.

2014 – Part of group exhibition New Folder by new members of Lithuanian Photographers’ Union at Prospektas gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania.

2013 07 – Selected by Crain Kalman Gallery for Cream: A Graduate Showcase 2013 in Brighton, U.K. with following exhibitions at the University of Brighton Grand Parade Galleries and at the Brighton Dome.

2011 – Project Killing time selected for Kaunas Photo Festival 2011 exhibition, Lithuania.