Dana Recmanova - ball gowns and flowers on Miners' Day


Dana Recmanova lives in Prague, where she organises international artists' exchanges. But Dana originally comes from one of the Czech Republic's more unusual cities. Havirov, in the far east of Moravia, is a mining town that was built almost entirely in the 1950s, on the grand plans typical for the Stalinist period. Since the fall of communism Havirov has changed enormously with the rise of modern-day capitalism and the closure of many of the mines. This has led to some strange contrasts in the town's atmosphere, as Dana now recounts.

Dana Recmanova
"My memory comes from 1998, eight years after the Velvet Revolution, when I went to my home town of Havirov, which is also known as the City of Miners. This is the city that was specially designed for workers who were coming to this region for work. And I went there on the Day of Miners which in the past was organized for whoever was working in the factory. Usually people got a free ticket to get beer and a sausage and there was a cultural programme with pop stars to it - a very funny, very fascinating event. And when I went there in 1998, I was walking through the city, and on the place where there was previously a statue of Lenin there was a huge crowd of miners talking, in a very lively way, about their problems, about their past and how the situation had shifted. They were ordinary people just standing on the street. And then, when I continued my walk, I was passing by the House of Culture, and I saw that there was something happening there and went inside. The change of setting was incredible. It was adorned with thousands of flowers, very lavish, and there were people obviously from high society in that region dressed in the latest models, and there was a ball organized for them as part of the Day of Miners. Obviously these were people who were in the management of the factories. This change, this confrontation of two different worlds, eight years after the revolution, made me very dizzy and stayed in my memory."