Meeting point: Nida Art Colony of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, E. A. Jonušo str. 3, Nida LT-93127

As part of the ongoing Shepherds’ Residency, the first three tours will focus on discussions around the shepherding and grazing in the Curonian Spit. We invite everyone to meet the shepherds-in-residency colectivo amasijo, Milda Laužikaitė, and Dovile Lapinskaitė, and participate in the sharing of their experiences working in and with the Neringa landscape over the past months. During the meetings shepherds, who all have artistic practices, will focus on specific aspects of their works related to questions around agriculture and economy, territory, art, mindful practices in working with domestic animals, and wildlife, fermentation of wild plants of the Neringa forests and dunes and many more. Some meetings will be organised as picnics, some as walks or musical encounters. 

Participation to the meetings is free of charge but with a limited number of places available. Registration is mandatory by email: neringaforestarchitecture@nidacolony.lt.

Nida Art Colony urges all visitors to be mindful and follow the current protective measures against the spreading of Covid-19. 


General context: In the beginning of June a flock of 30 Skudde sheep, owned by artist Laura Garbštiene (Verpėjos), were brought from Dzūkija to Nida. Since then the sheep have been grazing in designated areas in the Grobštas Nature reserve. The flock has been guarded by artists and shepherds Milda Laužikaitė, Kathryn Wood, Dovile Lapinskaitė, and colectivo amasijo.

This collaborative project between Verpėjos, the artist-run residency and project space in Dzūkija, NAC and the Curonian Spit National Park combines the objectives of several different institutions. Following the current regulations of upkeeping a diversity of natural habitats in the Curonian Spit National Park, the meadows of Grobštas Nature reserve in Nida are to be protected from overgrowth and are a particularly valuable habitat for meadow plants. 

Developed by using the sheep for the Curonian Spit National Park for nature conservation purposes, the shepherds’ residency is based on exploring the concept of artists working in the forest with sheep as a form of coexistence. Working with sheep in this landscape gives an opportunity for the artists to delve deeper into reflecting on the ongoing processes of how landscape, space, and nature are shaped and designed. The sheep will graze in the meadows that will not be reforested, thus inhabiting the landscape, grazing, and becoming new co-inhabitants in this protected structure of recreation, forestry, and cultural practices.

The Shepherds’ Residency ends by the end of October 2021. Initiated by Laura Garbštiene, the programme is implemented as part of the ongoing Neringa Forest Architecture (NFA) project at NAC, developed within the framework of NERINGA - Lithuanian Capital of Culture 2021.

colectivo amasijo started in 2019 in Mexico City, by a group of women from different professions and different territories: Veracruz, Oaxaca, State of Mexico and Mexico City. Their experience as shepherdesses began in Capulín (MX), doing research on communal lands and autonomy. The collective listens to the narratives that emerge from these actions as a mechanism to make visible the systems that perpetuate life. Tamayo Museum, Kamias Trienal, and Casa Wabi are some of the cultural institutions with which they have collaborated. Currently colectivo amasijo is part of a research team for MoMA.

Dovile Lapinskaitė studied Art History at Goldsmiths, University of London and now lives and works between the Western Isles of Scotland, Newcastle, and Lithuania. For the past two years, she has been involved in looking after a herd of 25 sheep that belong to artist and crofter Sallie Tyszo on the remote Isle of Lewis. In her work, Lapinskaitė focuses on LGBTQ+ archives, Queer diaspora, sexuality, and desire. She has also been awarded as a slam poet at a Kaunas Artist House organised event in partnership with The Wicked Projects (Berlin, Germany). The NAC residency is an exciting opportunity to explore her own connection with shepherding intertwined together with the experiences of her family and the nomadic lifestyle of the Outer Hebrides.

Milda Laužikaitė lives and works between Vilnius and Margionys village, Varėna district (LT). Laužikaitė has previously worked on farms and a wolf reservoir, and is familiar with animal life and needs, both domestic and wild. In performances and installations, as well as in musical creation, live improvisation is essential to Laužikaitė, as if the plan were a terrifying wall, stopping the spontaneous creative processes. This is why Laužikaitė's works always appear in collaboration with people, animals, plants, or rivers - those who are always in motion. During the residency Milda Laužikaitė will focus on interbeing with sheep, looking for ways she could  integrate her creative processes into a daily shepherding routine.