Mantas Kvedaravičius (23 June 1976 – 2 April 2022)
Photo credit: MFA Lithuania
It is with deep sorrow and shock that we have learned about the murder of Mantas Kvedaravičius, award-winning filmmaker, anthropologist, archaeologist and a member of EASA. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kvedaravičius was taken prisoner by the Russian military during the siege of Mariupol, the city he had documented over many years. He was shot in the chest and the head on April 2 while trying to exit Mariupol, and his body was found in the street (as reported by Ukrainian Ombudsman, Lyudmyla Denisova).
Kvedaravičius was an Associate Professor at Vilnius University. He led path-breaking and crucial work in visual anthropology by documenting and reflecting on the nature of warfare and violence by the Russian Federation in Chechnya (through his 2011 documentary Barzakh, “Limbo”) and in Ukraine (through his 2016 film Mariupolis). Barzakh, his debut documentary, received the Amnesty International Film Award at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival for its poignant and powerful portrayal of people undergoing political persecution in Chechnya. As he described his work: ‘My films are not about war, but about life next to war, life lived in spite of war’.
Mantas Kvedaravičius leaves a tremendous legacy of engaged anthropology. His life and work deeply honoured our profession. The announcement of his death is a painful reminder of the darkness of the times and the challenges that face our community as senseless destruction threatens Europe once again. In the words of Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, ‘we lost a creator well known in Lithuania and in the whole world who, until the very last moment, in spite of danger, worked in Russia-occupied Ukraine’. We join his family, friends, colleagues and admirers in saluting his bravery and mourning his loss.