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Exhibition Dedicated To Vaclav Havel Dissident Years

Vaclav Havel
Vaclav Havel

The exhibition dedicated to former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel’s dissident past opened recently in Prague in Montmartre Gallery. The display organized by the Vaclav Havel Library is named "We Had the Underground, Now We Have B...t" and deals with the time before Mr. Havel became the leader, so it covers the period of from the 1960s to 1989. The exhibition will be open up to March 13.

The exhibition reveals various samizdat documents and books (i. e. self-published documents and books) of that time and displays photos created by Bohdan Holomicek. It also showcases poetry of distinguished Czechoslovak poets of those days - Ivan Martin Jirous, Fanda Panek, Vratislav Brabenec and Jaroslav Hutka – all of whom were well known representatives of underground culture and also friends of Vaclav Havel.

Martin Putna, the Vaclav Havel Library’s program director and the exhibitions curator expressed the idea of the display this way: “This is a rather strange exhibition because this is an exhibition of texts, of poetry written by poets of the Czech underground of the 1970s and ‘80s. In these poems, Václav Havel appears as a central personality – not as a historical, but as one of the circle of friends, and perhaps as a mythical hero whose suffering has a central, symbolic meaning for the whole Czech community and nation.”

The exhibition is designed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that put end to Communist regime in Czechoslovakia in November 1989. It is just the first one in the long series of various exhibitions, book reviews and other culture events dedicated to this significant date.

Meanwhile, Vaclav Havel was recently hospitalized in serious condition after undergoing minor throat surgery. His respiratory problems dates back to the years he used to serve in Communist jails. Mr. Havel also used to be a chain smoker, which also worsened his health. Now his condition is rather serious but stable, so we wish Czech ex-president quick recovery.

Photo: provided by the International Monetary Fund (

Date: 16/01/2009

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