An exhibition of photographs by Jiri Dolezel and interviews conducted by Memory Traces association, exploring the life experiences of those who had been forced by circumstances to leave Czechoslovakia, the country of their origin.
Jiri Dolezel, recipient of several Czech Press Photo awards, will open his Memory Traces exhibition focused on Czech waves of emigration to the United States in 1938, 1948 and 1968. The photos and videos document Czech patriots living in the U.S. who left their motherland to find freedom or safety.
Memory Traces focuses on video interviews with these Czechs, who reveal a significant message – the importance of the U.S. democratic system, and its support for them as political refugees. They discuss how American society and democracy helped them establish their lives and professional careers. While these figures are not well known, they shine light on an important part of Czech national identity and make clear the significant links between the Czech Republic and the United States.
Jiri Dolezel is the chairman of the Association and the author of the Memory Traces project, graduated from the Institute of Creative Photography, Silesian University of Opava, Department of Photography. His main focus is on documentary, theater and portrait photography. He holds many awards including several Czech Press Photo Awards. He published books of photographs EPI Center (2007) and Gypsies from Vsetin (2009) and is the author of the book Memory Traces (2016), which contains 17 stories of witnesses of the project of the same name.
Memory Traces is a non-profit association of journalists and historians who, since 2008, have been collecting memories of critics and victims of both the Nazi and communist totalitarian regimes in Central Moravia. Audio-visual recordings of the testimonies of witnesses accompanied by contemporary photos of each individual in his/her home. The respondents include World War II witnesses and victims of the 1950s communist persecution.
venue: Bohemian National Hall, 2nd floor, 321 E. 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021
Free and open to the public.
This event is organized by Czech Center New York with support of BBLA.