The fictional character “Rokis” is created together with the Rokai community in Kaunas
Sep 08, 2020


The artist, ceramicist Ieva Bertašiūtė-Grosbaha (Kaunas Biennial, Lithuania) presents a project for the Magic Carpets platform ROKIS. It’s a performative display of a clay sculpture and stop-motion animated film, about the fictional character “Rokis”, created together with the Rokai community in Kaunas.

“I see great potential for transformation in clay – when touching this soft, greasy material, the whole world around stops, this touch allows liberation, relaxation, creation,” – says Ieva.

The fictional character “Rokis” will acquire a visual form during the workshop and possibly will become a symbol created by the community itself. The territory of Rokai sits on a thick layer of clay, the advantages of which were discovered at the beginning of the 17th century by the builders of the St. George (Bernardine) Church. The Rokai ceramics factory, which has been operating for many years, continued to use the subsoil assets – clay for crust, blocks, etc.

With this Kaunas Biennial project, the artist seeks to look at the identity and history of the Rokai with a lighter form of the prospective and to listen to the wishes and ideas of the community. The work  take place in the IV Fortas where the members of the community gathers for the filming and photographing short excerpts from a future stop-motion animation film capturing the transformation of the symbol “Rokis”.

The culmination of the project will be a clay sculpture of “Rokis” created together with the guest artist Maris Grosbahs and the Rokai community. It will be dried and burned in a special outdoor built-in ceramic kiln on the 12th of September at the Fluxus festival in Kaunas. This burning will also be open to anyone interested, both to observe and to contribute to the process. The sculpture will find its place in the Rokai Sculpture Park planned to be created in the area this year.

Photos: Nanook | Severija Venckute