Saturday, 3 March 2012

Enlightening Times Featured Artist - Peter Yankowski

Peter Yankowski Artists Statement: 
My current body of work examines themes of conflict, technology, religion, symbolism and the inherent history derived from recycled objects. 

Exploring the nature of abstract and figurative forms, combining many mediums, paint, photography, sculpture and assemblages. Particularly interested in revealing the hidden beauty within unwanted or broken artifacts.

Light up the World

The themes of this Icon are religion, war, death, conflict, and human being’s urge to belong to something. My intention is that the themes, symbolism, artifacts and imagery used within the ‘Icon’ have double meanings, which will hopefully engage and challenge the viewer to interpret it on a personal level.

Many religions have a history of persecution, brutality, waging wars and killing many innocent people in the name of their God or religious values.

The stories of Jesus are mainly that he was a good man who fought to save people with non-aggressive means, even if leading to his own death.

The Icon’s painting of Jesus holding a rifle downward, could portray him as a soldier fighting for good, or maybe just using the light to guide his way. Mixed in the myriad of symbols on the inside panel is the Hebrew (תרצח) for ‘Thou shalt not kill’ originally written ‘Thou shalt not murder’ raising the idea that killing is sometimes necessary or good?


Light Up The World by Peter Yankowski

False Prophet by Peter Yankowski

Purple Heart by Peter Yankowski

Kryžių Kalnas’

Ten kilometres outside Šiauliai, Lithuania is ‘Kryžių Kalnas’ (Hill of Crosses), this is an ancient pagan area that developed into the ‘Hill of Crosses’ after enforced Catholicism around 1386.

My first sighting of Kryžių Kalnas was visually stunning, the vast area is covered with a variety of hand crafted crosses and religious artifacts, from rosary beads to life-size crosses and huge sculptures. Lithuanian people identify the sight as a place of pilgrimage, remembrance and blessing where they leave religious objects as a memorial and testament to their long and troubled history.

During the years 1944 to 1991, when Lithuania was closed to the outside world and officially part of the Soviet Socialist Republic of the USSR, Lithuanians used ‘Kryžių Kalnas’ to demonstrate their allegiance to their original identity, religion and heritage by leaving crosses. The Russians tried to stop this by fining people who left crosses if caught a second time they were detained in Gulag camps for up to two years.

Even though the Soviets were ruthless and worked hard to remove new crosses from Kryžių Kalnas almost as soon as they were removed, new ones arrived. The Russians bulldozed the site at least three times, even flooded it with sewerage and put people in prison or fined them for placing crosses, but by 1985 they had given up and the Hill of Crosses flourished.

By 1991 it was estimated that forty thousand crosses and religious artifacts were on the site and by 2011 that number may well have tripled.

From the research and chatting with local people, it is obviously that Kryžių Kalnas is a sacred place, but I also like to think it is a symbol to strength and defiance against Russian oppression.

I made many photographs whilst at ‘Kryžių Kalnas’ but have selected these four images to be photographically printed on quality archive paper and limited to 150 prints

To Contact Peter about exhibitions or commissions please send an Email to