Country of context
Teisutis (Joe) Zikaras was born in Lithuania in 1922. His father, Jouzas Zikaras, was the Dean of the Sculpture Department at the School of Fine Arts, Kaunas, Lithuania. Teisutis Zikaras gained a diploma from this institution in 1943 although his training had begun at an early age in his father’s studio.
He taught for two years in Frieburg, Germany, as the instructor of Drawing and Sculpture at L'Ecole des Arts et Métiers before arriving in Australia as a ‘displaced person’ in 1949 — a migrant artist wishing to start a new life far removed from war-torn Europe.
During the years between 1952 and 1956, only a few years after his arrival in Australia, Zikaras assisted in the carving of the Melbourne War Memorial. He went on to become Lecturer in Sculpture at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and in 1960 joined the influential ‘Centre Five Group’ of sculptors.
The sculpture that Zikaras produced was strong and confident. Working mainly in wood and metal and at times terra-cotta he incorporated into his modern style, traditional Lithuanian folk art motifs and carving techniques. However like many of the émigré artists he did not confine himself to sculpture alone and investigated and worked in many modes of art including drawing and printmaking. Zikaras died in 1991.