Born in St Petersburg in 1915, he and his parents returned to Lithuanian after WWI. (His immigration papers state he was born in Zarasai on 22 June 1917). He studied art at the Vilnius Academy of Art for three years. During WWII he was captured by Nazis, conscripted into the German Army and taken prisoner of war by the American Army.
In 27 April 1948, he arrived in Australia on board the ship General Black. He fulfilled his two year work contract as a sugar cane cutter in Queensland. During that time he painted in oil a large picture, titled Holy Mary, a copy of the revered painting in Vilnius. He donated his work to the parish of Freshwater in 1948 to mark the first Lithuanian Day celebrations in Australia.
Julija Beniuševičiūtė-Žymantienė, |
famous Lithuanian author
In 1949, he exhibited four graphic art works at a Gympie exhibition and won first prize. While still in Queensland he painted murals in private homes, decorated church halls and painted pictures of religious subjects for Catholic churches.
In 1955, he moved to Adelaide and became involved with the community, painting theatrical sets and decorating Lithuanian house with wooden ornaments based on folk art symbols. (These still hang in the House). He then began to use poker work.
In 1956, he held his first solo exhibition at St Joseph's Hall in Adelaide. He showed 22 poker work items and 10 oil paintings. In 1957 he won a bronze medal at the Royal Adelaide Exhibition and in 1958 he was one of six Lithuanian artists who held an exhibition at Lithuanian House. During the 1962 Lithuanian Festival he held a joint poker work exhibition with Rimas Daugalis.
He never married and lived the last five years at the Lithuanian Catholic centre where he painted many oil painting of Lithuanian historical figures. They can still be seen displayed around the Lithuanian Catholic Centre.