A new online exhibition entitled The Faces of Resistance, presented by The Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the photographer Pavel Hroch, tells the story of Czech citizens who for many decades stood against the evil, inhumanity, oppression, and barbarism of various regimes.
The exhibit, live on Google Arts& Culture from February 25, is an interactive exploration of rebellions large and small via black and white photos as well as essays (in English) on each of the subjects.
According to the organization’s website, “These selected personalities are connected by courage, a will to live in freedom and a love of their fellow citizens.”
Portraits feature well-known intellectuals and dissidents such as musician Vratislav Brabenec a member of the Plastic People of the Universe as well as ordinary heroes including brave private farmers and everyday citizens whose acts of rebellion were no less significant.
An introduction by writer Adam Drda hints at the reasoning behind the book-scale nature of the project and the importance of its message:
“In the 20th century, Czech society lived through two totalitarian regimes, Nazism and Soviet-style communism. Its transformation was so radical that even many Czech intellectuals do not fully understand it. Explaining such a thing to foreign observers is all the harder.”
The essay goes on to say that, “The Czech 20th century was long and cruel and to this day society hasn’t gotten over it. Each of the people whose portrait Pavel Hroch has created in this series succeeded in the years 1938/1939–1989 in standing up to evil, in risking their lives, in placing justice and civilisation ahead of their own peace and comfort.”
The Václav Havel Library promotes the legacy of author, playwright, human rights defender, and Czechoslovak and Czech president Václav Havel.
The launch of the exhibit coincided with the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Communist coup in Czechoslovakia which saw a Moscow-backed communist party seize power and led to 40 years of totalitarian rule.
Google Arts & Culture is a platform that allows museums and institutions around the world to make art and culture widely accessible online.
Fans of Czech art can now view the collections of the National Gallery, Kampa Museum, Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Jewish Museum among other local interest photos, videos, and archival footage.