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Exhibition “Swirling, Twirling, Spinning”

On Wednesday, January 24 at 6 pm we welcome you to the opening of the exhibition Swirling, Twirling, Spinning curated by Merilin Talumaa. The exhibition includes works by Daria Melnikova, Helena Keskküla, Marge Monko and Viktorija Daniliauskaitė.

The exhibition Swirling, Twirling, Spinning unites artists across generations in an empowering context, drawing inspiration from the ideas of Lithuanian-American archaeologist and anthropologist Marija Gimbutas. Her profound research brought attention to the ancient cultures of the Baltic region and the broader Indo-European world, exploring archaeological artefacts, linguistics, ethnography, and folklore. Gimbutas posited a thesis that prehistoric European culture centered around the worship of a Mother Goddess, as the giver of all life. A spiritual sense of connectedness was artfully expressed through a sophisticated symbol system and an abundance of ritual objects. Nature and body were honored in Europe for tens of thousands of years. Whereas women had an especially strong position in societies across Eastern and Central Europe – a tendency no longer necessarily evident today. 

Swirling, Twirling, Spinning poetically weaves a narrative that bridges ancient myths and beliefs, natural cycles, and the transformative power of feminine energy across different cultures and times. Gimbutas, who having opened the treasure trove of prehistory, inspired a belief in a peaceful existence in our time – to bring back to life suppressed vital elements, such as the earth, the body (health), the feminine, and the subconscious. Participating artists, through imaginative and fictitious narratives, share personal stories and cultural myths that also reflect the influence of Gimbutas' theories on ancient symbolism. Their works echo these concepts through a contemporary lens, incorporating elements such as spirals, circles, and motifs such as snakes and birds – symbols rooted in ancient European matriarchal cultures that continue to resonate in Baltic art and culture. 

The exhibition contemplates on reimagining a world centered around goddess worship, with its emphasis on embracing womanhood, preserving nature, and forsaking warfare. Could this theoretical concept transcend into the tangible reality of our future society? Swirling, Twirling, Spinning seamlessly intertwines historical narratives and mythology, immersing us in the themes that Marija Gimbutas ignited: the celebration of life's cycles, constant renewal, the sanctity of the female body, and the spirituality inherent in these concepts. Gimbutas' exploration of the spiritual dimensions of a harmonious Old Europe and her vision for a New Europe free from dominance and warfare, feels remarkably pertinent in our contemporary world.

Participating artists: Daria Melnikova, Helena Keskküla, Marge Monko, Viktorija Daniliauskaitė

Curator: Merilin Talumaa

We would like to thank our partners and supporters: Draakoni Gallery, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Mario Nurmelaid, Naked Island The exhibition will remain open until February 17, 2024.

First exhibition around the heritage of Marija Gimbutas took place in L'Atlas Gallery in Paris, France (7 November 2023–3 January 2024). The cycle of exhibitions is foreseen to continue with an upcoming show in La Traverse in Marseille, France (27 August–26 October 2024).

Picture: Viktorija Daniliauskaitė, Black Night IV, 1992, linocut, 24,5 × 17,5 cm, MO Museum collection.

Exhibitions in Draakon gallery are supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture and Liviko AS.

Additional information:

Draakon Gallery

Tel: +372 5645 1591

+372 528 5324

+372 6 276 777

Pikk 18, 10133 Tallinn

Mon–Fri 11.00–18.00

Sat 11.00–17.00


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