The initiator of the Open Gallery Ž. Diawara: “My dream is to make art accessible to everyone and always”

In the new town district of the capital, in the yard of the former electromagnetic device factory “Elfa”, a colorful collection of street art works by famous country creators and foreign artists has been growing since 2016. Not a single one, unexpectedly visiting the yard full of industry, where factories in various fields still operate and heavy trucks are actively driven, remains surprised.
Such an effect was achieved by one of the creators of this open-air gallery, the creator Živilė Diawara. “I remember as soon as we decided to open the Loft Art Factory here and we entered this huge yard for the first time, I was not scared. It was a gray, abandoned, unloved, gloomy place. I will admit, I wasn’t sure if this challenge would go too far for us and Viktor Diawara, and it would actually succeed in transforming it. And now I know that art is omnipotent, that can change and tame any space, ”she says.

ERNESTAS ZACHAREVIČ (LT) “Rebel heart #1” / „Open Gallery“ archyvinė nuotrauka

True, for a while the gallery in the yard seemed like a distant dream, but the desires take over and come true unexpectedly. “With us, the famous Austrian artist Peter Phobia came to the Art Factory” Loft “and offered to paint his first work -” Cactus – my favorite plant “, which you can find right at the entrance to” Elfa “, on the side of Švitrigailos Street. That’s how it all started. One by one, more artists appeared, wanting to take on the challenge of Elfa’s yard and talk about the walls here. Now the gallery already has works by 44 famous Lithuanian and foreign creators, ”says Ž. Diawara.
There is a harmonious coexistence of both local industry and street art drawings, making this huge courtyard a place where you can discover works of art on the gray walls and now hear all their stories on your own, at your convenience.
The dream has become a reality – a gallery guide on your phone
Earlier, before the quarantine, the colorful drawings of Lithuanian and foreign artists on the walls of the factories, impressive large-scale light installations and sculptures exhibited in the gallery were creatively presented by professional guides. Once the quarantine began, the Open Gallery team was unable to do so. Thus was born the idea of ​​virtual and completely free audio tours, instantly accessible from every mobile phone with the help of the app, which from now on can be tried by every Vilnius resident and guest of the capital. “Every day I see how badly people lack fresh ideas, new inspirations and impressions, just culture. Many are experiencing extreme pain not only from fear of the unknown and the future, but also from the growing lack of visual and creative stimuli on a daily basis. I am convinced that the street art gallery under the open sky in the territory of the former factory “Elfa” is a great opportunity to pick up new winds and ideas in complete safety, enrich yourself and broaden your horizons, which have narrowed much from isolation. Art becomes especially important during a pandemic, I am sure that culture can help us avoid depression, frustration, inspire hope and patience, what we all need so much at the moment, ”on how the idea to create accessible on every mobile phone * came about. free audio guides, says one of the authors of the idea of ​​this project Ž. Diawara.

TELMO MIEL (NL) “Leading (re)generation” / „Open Gallery“ archyvinė nuotrauka

Audio tours open up new possibilities
Visitors will be invited to taste art by five different audio tours, so it is recommended to bypass the works exhibited in the gallery during several visits, experiencing art in a different way. “The long tour is intended for those who love completeness and want to learn more about the work of art, the history of its emergence and the artist who created it. I must mention that among the creators of urban art exhibited here are the most famous masters of street art in the country, as well as foreign artists exhibiting their works all over the world, working with the most famous brands. A short, 30-minute guide, perfect for those in a hurry. Such a tour can be taken, even during the lunch break. And we also have three guides for those who look at art completely differently than we are used to. These unique trips, I promise, will not only broaden your horizons, but also shock and have fun, ”says one of the creators of the Open Gallery project Ž. Diawara also mentions other audio tours – a comic created in Festive Bankuchen, hip-hop rhythm, recorded by freestyle rapper Jama and a historic one reminiscent of the former Elfa factory.


SOKAR UNO (DE) “The good man of freedom” / „Open Gallery“ archyvinė nuotrauka

The unique experience will surprise and enrich you
Lukas Šidlauskas, who works under the pseudonym of Festive Bankuchen, looks at art ironically, therefore it will be difficult to refrain from listening to the Open Gallery created by him. “Luke’s creative approach is surprising at every step. I think in 45 minutes, following in his footsteps, you’ll really smile a lot. Artistic snobbery, the love of his lovers to roll his nose and other witty remarks do not slip through the sight of Festive Bankuchen. Luke’s unique approach to art and the world is surprising and, at the same time, inspires new ideas. The Jama tour is a 45-minute free work by freestyle rapper Rokas Grajauskas, presenting the most impressive works of artists exhibited in the gallery. Well, the Elfa tour is intended for sworn history lovers, giving the opportunity to learn about the history of one of the largest factories in the capital, which has been operating in this place for many years, and at the same time discover and better understand the artwork now adorning the gallery. I think that there is something to choose from, even for the biggest snobs, ”says Ž. Diawara.

DAVID LEITNER (AT) “Face of Mankind” / „Open Gallery“ archyvinė nuotrauka

As early as May 12. In the courtyard of the former ELFA factory, everyone * will be able to try free audio tours of the Open Gallery mobile app, see how street art revives the dilapidated industrial city walls and discover the unprecedented face of Vilnius.
As soon as you get off at the Sparta stop, you will see the wall of the ELFA bar & kitchen with the first piece. This is the beginning of the Open Gallery audio tours. Here you will find a gallery map and free Wi-Fi, so you can download the mobile app and start your colorful journey.
* The Open Gallery mobile app will only be available to Android users for some time.