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Nov 15, 2004 12:00 AM - Jan 4, 2005 12:00 AM

“Václav Havel: Dissident–President–Citizen”–photographs by Oldřich Škácha

Exhibition at the Czech Center. Monday, November 15 at 5 pm. On view through January 4, 2005.



Opening Monday, November 15 at 5 pm           

On view through January 4, 2005   

Tue, Wed, and Fri, 9 am–5 pm; Thu, 9 am–7 pm



The Czech Center New York    

1109 Madison Avenue (at 83rd St.)


The Czech Center presents an exhibition of photos by Oldřich Škácha featuring Václav Havel, the former president of the Czech Republic. Oldřich Škácha has been Havel's personal photographer for more than 30 years. His camera captured the activities of independent intellectuals during the glorious Prague Spring of 1968; the period of Charter 77, a human rights manifesto; and Havel’s life after 1989.


Václav Havel hates photographers. When he does not want to be bothered by them, he retorts with some unexpected gesture like scratching himself behind the ear while others salute. This triggers the cameras to start clicking; the beast is satiated. I have known him for over forty years and have been photographing him for thirty-five. I know what I am talking about.


He does not regard me as a photographer, but rather thinks of me as a part of his lifetime inventory. He has never changed. Neither the title of Dissident nor President has made Havel a different person; nor has illness changed him. He is the same one that I met in the early years: an ingenious Winnie–the–Pooh, vivacious yet shows his teeth when need be.


Always a proper gentleman and detail oriented, he is like a well–organized teacher: on his desk, pencils are lined up and papers stacked at right angles. Yet he is neither rigid nor without a sense of humor. And I love him.


From the thousands of pictures that I have in my archive, I have chosen a few to bring across the ocean for you to see. I do not present them as art or as rare expensive artifacts. They are just plain pictures that anyone can hang up on the wall. Václav Havel is not exactly Marilyn Monroe, but, sometimes, he is lovely to look at.


Oldřich Škácha

Washington, DC, 2004



Oldřich Škácha was born in 1941 in Prague. He studied photography at the State Graphic Institute in Prague and after finishing his studies worked as a photojournalist for a number of Czechoslovak and foreign publications. In 1969 his journalistic activities were banned by the Communist government and he joined a group of dissidents led by Václav Havel and other prominent Czech intellectuals. Since the Velvet Revolution in 1990, he has worked as a freelancer for the Office of the President. Škácha currently works for a number of Czech publications and is engaged in photographing Czech political and cultural personalities. His work has been exhibited worldwide, including in Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Turkey, France, and the United States.


Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


From: Nov 15, 2004 12:00 AM
To: Jan 4, 2005 12:00 AM


Czech Center

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