Skip to content

Art exibition for Lithuanian artist Mad Mill

Lithuanian UCLan student Milda Okunyte - artist name Mad Mill - will be having her work exhibited by friends this month in Preston.

Milda Okunyte arrived in Preston, alone, from Kaunas in Lithuania, last autumn. She had come to develop her lifelong interest in art through undertaking a degree course in Illustration at UCLan. She died, aged only twenty, in a road traffic accident in March 2015.

Milda's physical beauty led to her being incorrectly described as a Model and news of her death, with a personal photograph taken from the internet, was reported around the world. However, to those who had the privilege of knowing her, Milda's beauty was of a different order. 

Ian Ferguson, who met her when she first arrived in Preston, said "Her imagination, her sense of humour, her love of life and her willingness to see not only the best that was, but that could be, in everyone around her, ensured that, in six short months, she changed many lives forever. Tragically, Milda is no longer with us, but her legacy, her art, lives on".  

Milda, playing on her name, often signed her work "Mad Mill" and her paintings, drawings, poems and photographs will be on display to the public for the first time at the Big Mill gallery, Primrose Hill, Preston, in an exhibition entitled "Mad Mill at Big Mill" from 17th June to 17th July 2015. The exhibition is the latest in a series of events organised by friends in her memory, the most recent being an evening of live music at the Korova Arts Cafe and Bar on 30 May, which would have been her 21st birthday.

For more information about the exhibition click here.

Mike Green, Curator at Big Mill, said "This will be the first ever exhibition at Big Mill as we have just opened after so many months of getting the space ready. The fact that it is the work of Milda that will start our monthly exhibition program off is meaningful in a number of ways as Big Mill is about creativity having more of a platform in Preston. Unfortunately I never knew Milda but from talking to her friends and seeing her work it is clear that she was much loved and had passion for her art and creativity. It is right and fitting that this exhibition has come together so that Milda and her creative footprint will leave it`s mark in Preston and at Big Mill as its first exhibition."

(below: a sample of Mad Mill's artwork. To see more samples click here)

Jude Dornan, who knew Milda from the events she attended at the Beautiful Planet community cafe, said "Milda made friends wherever she went. She had friends and family at home in Lithuania, at University, at the cafes she visited and among the people she met simply through living among us.  When we've organised events to remember Milda these people have met, often for the first time, and even though Milda is no longer with us, she is still bringing people together and is still changing people's lives."

Steve Wilkin, lecturer in Illustration at UClan, said "From the moment staff at UCLan saw her portfolio we knew Milda was a talent. Once we had met her we knew we had found an intriguing artist; always open to conversation about her work, always enthused by possibilities suggested to her by staff and peers. She was in some ways a complete creative, interested in music, poetry, film, performance, drawing, painting and digital art equally. At the end of her first term we asked Milda and the first year students to illustrate where they would like to be in ten years time.  On reviewing the work she had produced we discovered that Milda wanted to be right here with the likeminded people she had met in her short time in Preston, meeting, talking, playing music and making art. She made a website to celebrate those people and wrote this to go alongside her artwork:

"We are waiting for you and your dreams to come true;
Your world has again been based on a choice?
It’s not too late to be the voice
Forget your name as you rejoice
We are closer than you think
Visit us."

For event information visit the Mad Mill at Big Mill event page.