Karolina Ūla Valentaitė's solo exhibition „Diaries of the Witches“ at the VAA gallery „5 malūnai“ from the 1sth of September

Rituals embedded in childhood memories: is it family traditions or spells? Baltic-pagan elements are a crucial and familiar part of the Catholic tradition. Pulling out a piece of hay from underneath the tablecloth on Christmas Eve and gathering medicinal herbs for tea are examples of everyday witchcraft that we became accustomed to and do not notice anymore. But how does an individual who identifies as a witch sees such phenomena? By looking back at childhood memories, one tries to capture and understand moments which later become the cornerstones of their identity.

The mystical veil is being lifted from witchcraft, spirituality and magical rituals because of  accessible information on the internet. People have the resources to recreate and adapt witchcraft practices to themselves. The vastness of social media lets one grasp common interests and intents, they bring people together and create a community. However, with this, comes a tinge of auto-irony, internet magic intertwines with meme culture. In the forefront, we see fortune tellings and manifestations, happening in virtual space. Videos that keep appearing on our feeds are filled with abstract phrases and do little to convince us, however they serve as entertainment and, for some, a substitute for traditional religion.

Witchcraft is the main interest of this exhibition. “Diaries of the Witches” searches for an authentic bond with witchcraft, while using not only personal experiences and childhood memories, but also exploring other people's similar practices. Talking with witches, met on the internet, and recording those interviews helps to capture opinions, memories and traditions that are disappearing yet are being revived at the same time. On the sheets made from kombucha, that exude specific smell, settle down diaristic fragments, sketches and photographs. They weave together into a memory blanket, which becomes an extension of the artist’s skin and tells her family history filled with the occult, bewitched traditions and looking back at them with the present eye. From personal experience comes the curiosity for the whole history of witchcraft.

Curators: Marija Martinaitytė, Monika Pakerytė

Karolina Ūla Valentaitė (b. 1996) – Master’s student of contemporary sculpture in Vilnius Academy of Arts. In her works Karolina Ūla explores childhood memories, family history, from which stems ritualistic performativity.

Exhibition runs untill 9 of October