Czech documentary photographer and curator Dana Kyndrová is perhaps best known abroad for her project ‘Woman between Inhaling and Exhaling’. Spanning several decades, it exquisitely captures the stages of a woman’s life, divided into seven themes – adolescence, maternity and family, work, fun, eroticism, faith, and old age. But as she noted on a recent guided tour of selected works now at the Czech Centre in New York, she is not ‘a photographer of women’.
Many Czechs remember the concert of American folk musician Joan Baez’s in Bratislava on 10 June 1989 as one of the signs of the approaching fall of communism. During the concert Baez openly expressed her support for Czechoslovak opposition groups and to Václav Havel, who managed to smuggle himself into the concert hall pretending to be a roadie. Her stay in Bratislava was closely observed by the communist State Security services, but they missed the Czechoslovak dissident who fit into his pretended role by carrying her guitar.
For more than 250 years, a large Marian column stood on Prague’s Old Town Square. In 1918, it was torn down by an angry mob which saw it as a symbol of Austrian rule. Now, more than 100 years later, sculptor Petr Váňa is attempting to put up a copy of the Baroque structure at its original location. However, the Prague authorities are against it.
The biggest stars at this year’s Karlovy Vary film festival will be Julianne Moore, Casey Affleck and Patricia Clarkson, with Moore’s latest feature After the Wedding set to be screened at the opening ceremony on June 28. I discussed the main guests, his own personal recommendations and a special section this year devoted to early ‘90s Czechoslovak cinema with Karel Och, KVIFF’s artistic director.
Ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Czech National Museum has rejected a gift of exceptional Chinese pottery worth some five million crowns. The museum also declined to send a representative at the weekend to an exhibition showcasing the pottery. While the museum rejected the gift on procedural grounds, the incident underscores concerns about opaque Chinese business practices and the communist country’s exercise of “soft power”.
Ida Kelarová is a singer, musician and choirmaster who performs some of the best Romany music to come out of the Czech Republic. Paradoxically it was years before she discovered her Romany roots and drew inspiration from Roma culture and music. Today this legacy has become an important part of her life and she works hard to help talented Romany children living in excluded localities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
A charity concert in support of the victims of the Easter terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka will take place in Prague’s Hilton hotel on Saturday. The event, organised by the Czech Centres and the Catholic Charity, in cooperation with the Czech Foreign Ministry, will feature the Zlín Philharmonic Orchestra led by Prague-based Indian conductor Debashish Chaudhuri. The proceeds from the concert will go directly to the families affected by the attacks.