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Tue, 30 Apr


Aula Magna conference hall, I fl.


A unique opening of the photography exhibition "Hold Me Closer" by journalist and documentary filmmaker Diana Maria Olsson and a screening of her International award-winning film "First Class Citizen", highlighting the experiences of domestic and institutional violence, child custody loss and the discrimination encoutered as a migrant woman.


Time & Location

30 Apr 2024, 15:00 – 19:00 EEST

Aula Magna conference hall, I fl., H. Manto st. 90-1, 92295 Klaipeda, Lietuva

About the event

On April 30th, 3:00 PM Klaipėda University, Aula Magna conference hall (H. Mantas g. 90-1, 1st floor, Klaipėda) will host the opening of the photography exhibition "Hold Me Closer" and the screening of the International award-winning documentary film "First Class Citizen" by Lithuanian film director, journalist and mother Diana Maria Olsson.

What makes this exhibition special is that the photographer has not only collected the stories of women who have experienced institutional and domestic violence, but has also experienced herself what it is like to lose everything and, most importantly, to be separated from her only 3-year-old son after a divorce from an abusive partner. The photographs were taken in Paris, Chicago and mostly in Copenhagen, where the photographer's son is captured in a magical kingdom, where H.C. Andersen wrote fairy tales such as 'The Little Match Girl', which is also a symbol that behind every child who seeks the light there is a grown-up who has dragged him or her into the dark. Copenhagen is a safe place for mother and child, where they have rare opportunities to be together. The author's aim is that a mother and child who have been abused should be seen as complete beings when the system shows zero regard for them. With only a few encounters, a mother and her child imagine that they live in a magical kingdom. Each encounter is in a different museum, a symbol where things have value. The mother photographs the separated child there, among the valued objects, to give the child value, when the authorities say that mother and child are nothing and can be separated.

"If you put a stone in the street, nobody will value it, but if you put a stone in a museum, it has value. I want to spread the message that a mother and a small child are sacred, they cannot be separated from each other. They are not just a personal code or statistics. As a journalist, I have collected the stories of many women who fled domestic violence but were separated from their children instead of getting help. I know how they feel: you are in constant mourning for your living child." - D. M. Olsson

This unique event sheds light not only on Diana's own story, but also on the experiences of countless other women who, whether in their own country or in a foreign country, have been victims of the system, often many of them also victims of the Hague Convention. According to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (signed by more than 100 countries), a child is considered to have been abducted if one parent takes the child across an international border without the other parent's consent. The motive for taking the child is irrelevant. The Convention, which was originally intended to target parents who abduct children in order to hurt and control their mothers, was designed to ensure the child's swift and safe return. In this respect, the treaty is very effective. However, today, about 75% of the parents who come before the courts are mothers. Many of them are fleeing domestic violence and trying to get to the safety of their home country with their child, and the cases are brought by the perpetrators. In most cases, even where there is clear evidence of violence or crime by the father, the Convention insists that the child be returned.

Diana is one of fifty changemakers across Europe taking part in the European Parliament-supported programme AGENCY: Vote With Her, implemented by the European Migrant Women's Network, where she is using a combination of PHOTOVOICE and documentary photography to convey her vision and story to the public, encouraging communities to take part in the 2024 In the EU elections and to responsibly elect representatives who care about migrant women's rights, who care about the experiences of women like Diana and countless others, and who are determined to represent them.

More information about Diana's exhibition and the AGENCY programme can be found here:

About the author

Diana Maria Olsson is a Lithuanian filmmaker and journalist based in Copenhagen. She has made documentary TV programmes for Lithuanian National Television (LRT) and Swedish National Television (SVT). She is the founder of the film production company Zen Division (Copenhagen) and the director of the international award-winning documentary First Class Citizen. The film is currently available on Delfi Premium.

The exhibition will be available in Klaipėda and Palanga from 29 April. More information about venues and dates will be shared soon!

Diana's exhibition in Lithuania is supported by:

Klaipeda Social and Psychological Support Centre

Klaipada University Department of Social Work

Palanga Municipality Department of Social Support

The exhibition is initiated by the European Network of Migrant Women and the FemLens association. 

The exhibition is supported by the European Parliament.

For more information about the event, please contact:

Eglė Puidokaitė

Tel. +37068995163



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