Algimantas Kezys was born in Lithuania in 1928. Fleeing to the West prior to the Soviet occupation of his native country, Kezys came to the United States in 1950 to study and eventually to be ordained as a Jesuit Priest. In 1956 he received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Loyola University in Chicago. Assigned to the Lithuanian province of the Jesuit Fathers he served his countrymen in Chicago and other cities in the United States. He founded the Lithuanian Photo Library and has served as its president since 1966. He also founded and is presently Chairman of the Board of the Lithuanian Library Press in Chicago. From 1974 to 1977 he directed the Lithuanian Youth Center in Chicago.
Kezys fostered his own artistic inclinations by immersing himself in the art of photography, and, in 1965 his artistic talent was recognized with his first exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. He has since exhibited in a number of American and European museums and his work has appeared in magazines and books on both sides of the Atlantic.
His most recent exhibition (May 2000) was in Washington D.C., sponsered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Now a former Jesuit, Kezys operates a small gallery (Galerija) in Stickney, Illinois, that represents Lithuanian artists worldwide and publishes reviews, catalogs, and books on art, religion, and photography.
Christian Narkiewicz-Lane* has written of Kezys, “…Kezys tends to be the maker of a newly defined world as much as the vehicle of artistic expression will allow. Here he walks towards and through himself in order to cross the threshold of a broader experience. The viewer who exists tends to disappear and pass into the image. This is proof of the possibility of placing oneself in a particular territory, deep in the personal heart of life, as well as plunged into the unknown and into the anonymity of time and space… the effect is like awakening from a dream – transforming the “apparition” back to the landscape or the cityscape. The void returns to the silence of nature, however leading to a higher and more defined reason.”