In the eyes of LISA, Marija Nemčenko at Civic Room

In the eyes of LISA, Marija Nemčenko at Civic Room

Exhibition: 16th November– 22nd December

In the eyes of LISA draws from the history of the Lithuanian migrant community in Lanarkshire in the 19th and 20th centuries and their loss of cultural identity through the Anglo Russian military convention and subsequent assimilation into Scottish society. The work is a response to little-known stories of Lithuanian migrants and their role in the heavy industries that contributed to Scottish industrial growth.

The first wave of Lithuanian migration to Scotland was partly prompted by the industrial success of the country that required ‘cheap labour’ to support the mining industries. Lithuanian miners were sought by Scottish industrialists to work for less pay and their vulnerable position was strategically exploited with Lithuanian workers used as strike-breakers. Mine owners benefitted from media hostility towards migrants and adopted a strategy of divide and rule in order to maintain low pay and minimum social security for workers. Yet it didn’t take long before Lithuanians became strongly involved in unionising with their fellow Scots to fight against this exploitation. However, despite the united force of the working classes and the unions, the British government had different plans for the fate of Lithuanians in Scotland…

In the eyes of LISA (14min)

Camera: Matthew Arthur Williams and Marija Nemčenko; Sound: Jokūbas Čižikas; Assistance on set: Gintare Venzlauskaite and Indrė Šimkutė. “Goodbye Eliza” song credits: Rondo, music Aleksandras Ivanovas, lyrics – G.Patackas (1996). Mine image credits: Bedlay Colliery and coke ovens. (c.1927),North Lanarkshire Archives.

In the eyes of LISA is the final exhibition featured in the Of Lovely Tyrants and Invisible Women programme investigating themes of spatial politics, gender and racial hierarchies within imperial architecture. This year-long programme, curated by Civic Room, Glasgow features four solo exhibitions from artists – Lauren Printy Currie, Ashanti Harris, Thulani Rachia and Marija Nemčenko and an events programme in collaboration with cultural organisations, community groups and public audiences. Of Lovely Tyrants and Invisible Women is co-curated by Director, Sarah Strang and Curator, Alasdair Campbell and is generously is generously funded by Creative Scotland with additional project funding provided by Heritage Lottery Fund and Glasgow City Heritage Trust. Civic Room receives support in-kind from Oran Mor, Carson & Partners and Civic Room Advisory. Included as part of the shadow programme of Lithuanian Days in Scotland.

With thanks to Cait Mcglinchey and her family, Alan Poutney, James D. White, Gintare Venzlauskaite, Daina Bytautiene, The Lithuanian Social Club Bellshill, Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life – Culture NL, National Mining Museum Scotland, Motherwell Heritage Centre, Professor David Smith and the CEES department at the University of Glasgow, “Saduta” Lithuanian folk group and Bereyozka Ltd shop for their input and support of the project. Special thanks to the install team Amelia Bywater, Hussein Mitha and Ambroise Leclerc.