The Czech artist and designer Eva Eislerová originally wanted to be an architect. Instead, she became one of the most highly regarded makers of art jewellery in the world, after emigrating to New York in the 1980s with her half-Czech, half-English husband, John Eisler. Today Eva Eisler, as she is known to her collectors, spends most of her time back home in Prague, where she teaches at the metals department at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design.
This weekend is the 70th anniversary of the Nazi destruction of the village of Lidice. Shortly after the massacre, the British novelist Kathleen Hewitt wrote: “The tragedy of Lidice is part of a tragedy so great that one hesitates before daring to comment on it.” But she added that “words are potent weapons, as it is of words that history is made.” Since the Nazis tried to wipe Lidice from the map, many, many words have been written about Lidice; it has captured the imagination of writers like few other wartime atrocities, and dozens, perhaps hundreds,
If artist Josef Čapek is less known to non-Czechs than his younger brother Karel, the writer, that’s all the more reason to visit the new exhibition dedicated to his life and work at the National Library. The show, which opens on Wednesday, commemorates the 125th birthday of the jack of all artistic trades, and recalls the very different fortunes and pursuits of his professional life.
In this edition of our Sunday Music Show, we’ll hear songs inspired by the Czech capital, its beauty, its people and some of the events that took place there. Throughout the centuries, many writers, painters and other artists have been captured by the city’s charm but in our show today, we will listen to songs by foreign artists including Nick Cave, British Sea Power, Slayer, Joaquin Sabina, Vladimir Troshin, and others.
This Friday sees the opening of a new exhibition of new work in glass by Czech, Slovak and Austrian artists. The work is going on view at the Horácká Gallery in Nové Město na Moravě. The work was produced at the AGS Glassworks near Žďár nad Sázavou, located in the Czech-Moravia highlands, at this year’s International Glass Symposium.
They call it the biggest Roma culture festival in the world, and it’s back in Prague for the 14th year. The Khamoro, or World Roma Festival, means nine days of some of the best gypsy bands from all corners of Europe, but also a wide array of cultural and sociological events all aimed at promoting unity and understanding.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the vanguard rock n’ roll band Olympic, and this month the 70th birthday of its founder Petr Janda. Even in the late sixties music critics noted the tremendous impact that Olympic had on Czech pop, or big beat, but probably no one would have guessed that the band would still be playing in the 21st century, or that their Janda would still be on the stage in front of faithful audiences 50 years on.
Hunt Kastner Artworks in Prague 7 is a private gallery owned and run by Camille Hunt, who is Canadian, and Katherine Kastner, who is from the US though her mother is Czech. The two represent 10 Czech artists, among them Eva Koťátková, Josef Bolf and Daniel Pitín. This week I stopped by to talk to the owners about their work, both curating shows and helping their artists find buyers overseas. I first asked Hunt what had led them to open the gallery in the first place.
Our guest on this week’s Sunday Music show is singer and songwriter Tomáš Klus winner of the Singer of the year and Album of the year at the 2011 Andel Awards. Tomáš Klus has best captured the present mood of the Czech nation. In his 2011 hit song "Pánu bohu do oken" he sings about the rotten world of Czech politics asking God what Czechs have done to deserve this.