Get to know Gabija Kertenyte, our Fall 2016 development & communications Intern:
So, what made you decide to intern with The LP? How does the internship relate to your studies?
This summer, I decided to take time off from school in order to have space to think and reconsider what I was doing. I went home to New Jersey and started waitressing hoping for something more interesting to come along. It happened much faster than I expected. On my 21st birthday, I came across the LP and it felt right: I felt drawn to LP’s political commitment and its perspective on art. I admired how the LP’s artists and communities use art as a way to think about what brings them together and what matters to them; as a medium for thorough, authentic, and loving ways to engage with each other, their surroundings, and their thoughts.
I am happy to say that I just made a decision to return to Barnard next semester and decided to go for it and study visual art. I want to do art in order to learn to think better, to express myself more, to see more, to observe more, to care more, to connect, to authentically engage, to be more honest, more present. And I am very grateful to be learning from The LP about art’s versatility and power.
Do you have your own creative practice? If so, tell us more!
Hopefully there will be more to share soon. I used to write. I’m always doodling. I like to sketch.
The most creatively satisfying thing I’ve done is this flower I crafted last fall. I was doodling with markers and applying tide pen (laundry reference!) to make it blend and bleed thru the page. I ended up with a whole jar full of colorful pieces of paper out of which, along with blue and see through tape, I constructed the petals.
The approach to art I am most interested in pursuing is something extremely mixed-media. I like to draw, then paint over, then glue things to it, tear the page burn out a hole and discover it in the process.
Can you tell us about an artist or project that has inspired you?
Since I started my work with The LP, I worked on a social media campaign called “10 years in 10 days,” in which I researched the projects the LP community created during the 10 years of The LP’s Create Change program. I found many of the projects and the artists incredibly inspiring and felt very grateful to have a chance to learn about them.
What is your favorite… film?
The Science of Sleep
Mac and Cheese
In your opinion, why does art matter?
I think making, sharing, and appreciating art allows us to be particularly present and to think in a way that is more honest, authentic, caring, and engaged. Our mind needs beauty, it needs stories, metaphor and meaning and art provides that.
I was reading a book about a woman named Simone Weill that explores her unconventional approach to politics and philosophy. An idea that struck me was that in order to not let our thinking patterns serve all forms of authoritarianism, we need to think by paying attention. She claimed that opinion was evil and we shouldn’t jump to conclusions and learn in an expedited way just to avoid not-knowing. Instead, we should always stay empty and curious and wholeheartedly pay attention. I believe that engaging with art is precisely what allows for that type of thinking.
Gabija Kertenyte was born in Lithuania, grew up in New Jersey, and currently returning to her studies at Barnard. She came to New York so she can walk and has most recently been walking in the Standing Rock solidarity rallies.