2015 - 2016 In 1990, after 50 years of soviet domination, Lithuania was the first Soviet republic who declared itself independent and became a sovereign state. Within two years, the remaining 14 Soviet republics followed into independence ushering the end of the world's largest communist state. A long lasting period of oppression on Lithuania`s history and national identity have shaped the country, its resources, its economic system and its people.
The country’s been a member of the European Union since 2004. In 2015 it adopted the Euro as the official currency by becoming the 19th member of the Eurozone. The country is increasingly leaving behind its Soviet past and is in a constant process of transformation. By processes of detachment on the one side and bonding processes on the other, Lithuania, similar to other post-Soviet countries, is in search of its own lost identity and its political role in a united Europe.
In September 2015, I visited Lithuania for the first time. I had neither great expectations and nor an exact idea of the small Baltic state, which has almost as many inhabitants as Berlin. I remember Lithuania as a country with plenty of wild apple trees. Dozens of small-sized mature apples hanging on crowded branches. I remember a quiet laid-back country. The streets were not crowded, people were not in a rush and took their time to make conversation. I was interested in the "here and now". I wonder where does Lithuania as a post communist state position itself in Europe today? Which traces the past has left and what role the European Union plays in terms of the country's future?
Seeking for the places and situations which express to me an idea or a feeling of the present-day Lithuania and walking the streets of Kaunas and Vilnius, I had the feeling as if a long awaited moment has not happened yet. A hunch of not sleeping anymore, but to dwell on a dreamy mode, turning from one side to the other, waiting to get up with the first rays of the sun which bring back the warmth and the colour to shapes that were grey at dawn.
It feels as if Lithuania is in a moment of change. Facing the close future and seeking for economic growth, the past becomes a burden. As the proverb by P. Hartley says "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there“, one can see a lot of modernisation, especially the New City Center of Vilnius is converted into a modern district of economic apartments and commercial buildings facing the economic change to a capitalistic system. However, the past is still visible. Lots of wooden houses and hundreds of soviet-era apartment blocks in the outskirts of the city.
The title of the series: Morning has not dawned yet is taken from a traditional vocal folk music song, a lithuanian Daino. These traditional Dainos are commonly known by Lithuanians and form a basic part of lithuanian identity. Singing Songs is indispensable to Lithuanians. Moreover, the history of the Baltic states reveals one world known event „The Singing Revolution“ — a national and nonviolent movement in the Baltic States between 1987 to 1991, where unarmed Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians fought for their countries freedom and independence in face of the soviet occupation by singing songs.