Exhibition of Czech and Slovak Exile, Jazz Goes to Town, Week of Czech Culture in Malta

Český a slovenský exil 20. století

In this week's Arts, Dita Asiedu visits an exhibition on Czechs and Slovaks in exile during the twentieth century, invites you to a jazz marathon in Hradec Kralove, and looks at the Week of Czech Culture in Malta.

Exhibition of Czech and Slovak exile

"Hello. I am Gereon Tomas Binovec and I am a member of K2001 and we are preparing an exhibition for our citizens about Czech and Slovak exile."

Český a slovenský exil 20. století
K2001 is a civic association based in the Moravian capital of Brno that was founded in 1997 with the aim of promoting dialogue on Czech culture and history. Since its establishment, it has been engaged in four main projects; through exhibitions and seminars, it has informed the public on the hidden treasures in the country, the Benedictine Monastery "Rajhrad", the Jewish community in Moravia, and finally Czech and Slovak exile in the twentieth century. The latter, is a long-term project that began in August in the city of Brno, where for one month, Czechs had the chance to look through documents and other material that was made public for the first time. Last Friday, the exhibition opened at Prague's Police Museum. Mr Gereon Tomas Binovec:

"We show the Czech and Slovak legions during World War I, the organisation of Czechoslovak troops, and the second and third resistance during the Second World War We also show the practices of the Communist secret service used against emigrants and their families. There are memories of Czech and Slovak artists, scientists, architects, writers, businessmen, the Czech nobility, church members, members of movements in exile such as the Sokol or Orel movements, prominent personalities, members of political parties and exile governments. There are Czech and Slovak broadcasters, Radio Free Europe, Voice of America, BBC, Radio Vatican Deutschland funk, Deutsche Welle, Radio Sydney, and others."

Z výstavy Český exil
According to the K2001 association, Czechs were given little information on exiles in the 20th century. For forty years, the Communist regime tried to hide facts and distort reality, hoping to shape Czechoslovak history into something it was not. The aim of the exhibition is to give Czechs the chance to see what the period from 1948-1989 was really like. The final and main aim of the K2001 project is therefore to gather enough material and information to be able to open a permanent museum on Czech and Slovak exile by 2008.

"I know that visitors were mainly from schools. They were students and the elderly who know what exile is or means. I think it [the exhibition] is very important for the young people because they do not know about this part if Czech history. We have prepared a few programmes for high schools and universities. We will be pleased to receive any details such as magazines, books, chronicles, audio recordings, film documentaries, testifying the lives of Czechs and Slovaks in exile all over the world. We hope that those who were in exile can come and feel at home here, that they are a part of this nation. Czechs today are more interested in other events and that is a pity because exile is part of our history."

The exhibition's organisers hope to have it travel around the world. In December, it will open in Germany (Munich, Berlin, and Dresden). Other places where it is expected to travel to are Moscow, Strasburg, London and Paris and countries as far away as Australia, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Week of Czech culture in Malta

On Tuesday, the week of Czech culture began in Malta, focusing mainly on the introduction of Czech music to the Maltese population. Musicians such as the popular folk group Gajdosi from Brno, who play renaissance and folk music on historical instruments, as well as jazz pianist Milan Svoboda and guitarist Martin Mastik, are expected to give concerts in Valletta's clubs, concert halls and even on the streets of the Maltese capital. A number of seminars and lectures will also be held on Czech Baroque music.

Valletta's St. James Cavalier cultural centre hosts a series of screenings of films by Czech director Jan Sverak, which include Kolja and Dark Blue World. And besides films, two exhibitions of photographs hope to bring the people of Malta closer to the Czech Republic. If that won't help, then the presentation of traditional Czech dishes at the Corinthia Palace Hotel and a taste of Czech beer will certainly do the trick.

Under the auspices of Maltese President Guido de Marco, the week of Czech culture was organised by the Czech embassy in Rome and the honorary consulate in Valleta, with the financial support of the City of Prague. A number of meetings and discussion forums will be held on Czech-Maltese relations and future cultural and economic ties. The week will peak on the island of Gozzo on October 25, where the central square of the town of Mgarr will be renamed Prague Square. The ceremony will be attended by Prague Mayor Pavel Bem, who will unveil a monument representing the friendly relationship Mgarr and Prague hope to enjoy in the future.

Week-long jazz marathon underway in Hradec Kralove

The 9th International Jazz Goes to Town festival is currently underway in the Bohemian town of Hradec Kralove. The one-week long jazz marathon was festively opened on Monday with a performance by singer Ida Kelarova, who was accompanied by the Romano Rat formation. Throughout the week, sounds of jazz attracted hundreds of visitors to the town's pubs and bars. However, the main concerts of the festival are expected to take place this Friday and Saturday at the congress centre Aldis. The highlight of the festival: Saturday's performance by the popular bass-guitarist Marcus Miller, who has played with renowned names such as the legendary Miles Davis. Czech musician Jiri Stivin will also be playing a few tunes with German contra-bass player Ali Haurand and French drummer Daniel Humair. This year, the festival is held under the auspices of Czech President Vaclav Klaus.