Žemaitė (Julija Beniuševičiūtė-Žymantienė 1845-1921) was a famous writer and public figure during the turn of the 20th century who contributed to the promotion of the Lithuanian language and its literature.
She was the first Lithuanian writer whose work took a closer look at the lives of woman. Until then, male writers did not convey the worldview of women. The sculpture of the writer is located at Žemaitė Square near Gediminas Avenue. You will recognise her from her leaning pose and tied headscarf. Sculptor Petras Aleksandravičius is the artist behind the sculpture.
Žemaitė originally tried to become a farmer but she did not enjoy the farm life at all. She decided to become a writer instead and her books were very popular with readers of the time.
The sculpture of Žemaitė is one of Vilnius’ talking sculptures. This is evident from the blue table attached to the sculpture's pedestal, inviting you to listen to the sculpture. Choose one of the two alternatives listed in the table on your smartphone: scan the QR code or type in the specified URL. Jolanta Dapkūnaitė serves as the voice of the sculpture.
During her lifetime, Žemaitė wrote about 354 short stories, novellas, narratives, pictures, a dozen plays, a story about her childhood, publicity articles, and correspondences. Her most famous works include Marti, Topylis, Petras Kurmelis, Sučiuptas velnias and Sutkai. Her works are dominated by negative phenomena of life, depicted through narratives that are epic, ironic and objectivised. Detailed descriptions of nature, customs, everyday life and external characters are hallmarks of her work. Moreover, much attention is paid to the lives of women in her work.
Her work is a wonderful diary of the time, inviting readers to learn something while getting a view of real life. She collaborated with many other writers of the time while trying to foster Lithuanian literature. To commemorate this, people at Žemaitė Square built a sculpture for her in 1971.