A TOUCH of Lithuania has been brought to Dorset with an art exhibition at Sherborne Abbey.

Lithuanian artist Birute Nomeda Stankuniene, from Vilnius, is hosting an exhibition called ‘Embracing Life’.

The exhibition was opened last month by Vicar of Sherborne, Canon Eric Woods. A good number of art lovers attended, including the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Angus Campbell.

Birute’s abstract work is displayed against the backdrop of the ancient abbey.

The cornerstone of the exhibition is a series of seven paintings accompanied by biblical texts from Job.

The series, called ‘Seven Feelings according to the Book of Job,’ involves colours ranging from the vibrant through to the delicate, as well as challenging images and shapes.

Birute said she felt privileged to hold an exhibition at the Abbey and that her artwork was inspired by her childhood.

She said: “I was born and grew up in Lithuania during its occupation by the USSR, where a ‘happy and perfect life’ was guaranteed by the communist system.

“At that time, to have faith, to question or wonder meant to resist the soviet regime. Lithuania was and remains a catholic country, and religion became one of the forms of resistance as well as a way to preserve your national identity.

“Such was the context that influenced my life and paintings. Therefore I relate to the themes of the Book of Job not only as a person, but as a citizen of my country.

“I believe that the most important existential questions are often rooted in everyday life experiences, which in turn are shaped by our values and the changing cultural context in which they are located.

“It seems to me that the experience of suffering is often the point at which we face life's questions most honestly and acutely.”

The exhibition will expands and complement the theme of facing and embracing the challenges of life.

Birute said she was keen to Dorset’s response to her art.

She said: “For me to create, that is to paint, means to think, communicate, solve and discover - it means to live.

“It is a great joy and test every time I exhibit my works. Every painting is a part of my inner self, put out there in front of the spectator’s eyes, to be observed and reinterpreted.

“Painting as a unique means of communication allows me to speak of the things I cannot express in words. Once the paintings are on display, I cannot help but wonder how the conversation between my work and the spectators is going to go.”

The exhibition is free to attend and will run until March 28. The exhibition will be open Monday to Sunday between 8am and 4pm.