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Exhibition: Samizdat: The Czech Art of Resistance, 1968-1989

(This article expired 05.05.2013.)

May 15, 2012, 6:30 pm - The Embassy of the Czech Republic will open the exhibition SAMIZDAT: The Czech Art of Resistance, 1968-89, with opening remarks from Ambassador Petr Gandalovič and special guests:curator Daniela Sneppová and journalist Normando Hernández.


The Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States, Petr Gandalovič, invites you to the opening of the exhibition SAMIZDAT: The Czech Art of Resistance, 1968-1989, with special guests: curator Daniela Sneppová and journalist Normando Hernández, on May 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm at the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Admission is free.

The exhibition includes 120 rarely seen handmade books, journals, and other original works on paper that circulated secretly during the years between the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution. The multimedia exhibition also includes period footage of underground concerts and bootleg recordings of banned Czech bands.

Samizdat: The Czech Art of Resistance, 1968-1989
, is curated by Daniela Sneppová and supported by the Czech Center New York. Additional information about the exhibition can be found at www.artofresistance.ca.

The exhibition is part of the Embassy's project Freedom of Expression in the Contemporary World. The exhibition will be on view until June 8, and is open to the public Monday-Thursday
(10 am-4pm) and Friday (10 am to 2 pm). Please call 202/274-9105 to schedule an appointment. 

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008

RSVP: czech_events@yahoo.com | 202/274-9105


Literally meaning "self-published," samizdat is a Russian term referring to underground publications that flourished in the USSR and Soviet bloc under repressive communist rule. Copies of an essay, a book, a series of poems, or articles were generated in small batches, most commonly using a typewriter with carbon paper or a small printing press. Blending political dissidence with aesthetic innovation, samizdat was passed from person to person through clandestine networks.

Creating and disseminating ideas or art -- even if non-political -- that did not conform to official ideology was considered to be an act against the state. This could, and did, lead to imprisonment for many of those found to be participating in this "unofficial culture." Samizdat explores how these seemingly small acts of opposition played a crucial role in resisting the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia, which was eventually displaced by the leaders of underground culture -- including such producers of samizdat as writer and first president of Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel. The exhibition also explores other forms of cultural resistance and includes examples of artist projects, music and video documents of underground events.

Freedom of Expression in the Contemporary World
The Embassy's project Freedom of Expression in the Contemporary World is dedicated to lifelong friends and symbols of the fight for democracy and freedom: the renowned Czech film director Miloš Forman and former Czech and Czechoslovak President Václav Havel. Running from February-May 2012, the project incorporates documentary screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions, and lectures focusing on freedom of expression particularly in Burma, Belarus, and Cuba.

Guest Speakers
Daniela Sneppova
serves as curator of the exhibition Samizdat: The Czech Art of Resistance, 1968-1989. Her curatorial portfolio also includes Song Show, an exhibition of eight video artworks, each of which subjects a particular song to a wild but discerning transformation. Sneppova’s creative work encompasses many different activities including designing, managing print and new media projects, independent video production, writing and directing commercial videos, designing promotional materials for films festivals, and as curator of art at museums. Her projects revolve around shifting processes of embodiment in politics and identity, with an emphasis on the transcultural. With one foot in Canada and the other in the Czech Republic, her performance and installation projects have been exhibited internationally and in Canada. Currently, she teaches at the University of Western Ontario.She received her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. For further information about the curator, please visit www.danielasneppova.org.

Normando Hernández is an independent journalist who has dedicated his career to providing alternative sources of news and information in Cuba. In 1999, he founded the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, and in 2000, he established the Camaguey Association of Journalists, the first independent organization in Camaguey province since 1959. Declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International following Cuba’s “Black Spring” (2003–2010), during which dozens of dissidents and journalists were imprisoned for their activism, Hernández was exiled to Spain in 2010 and has since resettled in the United States. The author of numerous articles and publications, including the book El Arte de la Tortura: Memorias de un Ex Prisionero de Conciencia Cubano (The Art of Torture: Memories of a Former Cuban Prisoner of Conscience, 2010), he has received several journalism and human rights awards, including the Norwegian Writers Association’s Freedom of Expression Award (2009), the PEN American Center’s PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award (2007), and a special mention by the Inter-American Press Association for excellence in journalism (2003).