1st Republic, 2017
On the 21st November 2017, Galerie La Femme launched their ‘First Republic’ exhibition, which focuses on an iconic period of Czech history. This exhibition is part of the ‘Homework’ project, which the gallery runs every year. This annual project comprises of more than sixty of the best Czech artists, many of whom are established academics, who are given the task of creating a piece of artwork from a chosen theme. This year’s exhibition is in collaboration with Hollar, an association of Czech graphic artists, founded in 1917. Hollar have joined together with Galerie La Femme to celebrate both their centenary and the anniversary of the First Republic. Many of its members are artists in this exhibition, including its leader Pavel Piekar, and others such as František Hodonský and Jiří Anderle.
This year’s theme for the project, ‘First Republic’, celebrates the period of 1918-1939, which includes the presidency of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk from 1918-1935. Masaryk was the founder and first President of Czechoslovakia and is seen by many as one of the most popular Czech Presidents. The period of 1918-1939 is known as one of Czechoslovakia’s most prosperous periods to date, as the country’s economic and industrial situation was booming. This exhibition celebrates this period and not only pays homage to Masaryk, but to several other important and iconic people of this time. The ‘First Republic’ exhibition commemorates multiple infamous actors, including Jan Werich and Adina Mandlová, painters such as Emil Filla and Josef Váchal, and writers such as Karel Čapek, who was also widely known for his humanistic fight against communism. Portraits of many of these iconic Czech figures are featured in this exhibition along with other unique, vivid and colourful paintings. Many of these incorporate the colours of the Czech flag in an intriguing and visually appealing way, in order to break down and relate the narrative of the First Republic.
Not only does this exhibition, and the Homework project itself, encourage artists to create something new and focused with a united theme, but it creates varied and diverse artwork for the gallery to then sell to the public. Famous Czech musican Vladimír Merta was also inspired by the nature of this exhibition and composed a song especially for it, which he performed at the opening in November.
This nationalistic exhibition will be featured in the gallery until the end of January 2018 and will then move around the Czech Republic before going abroad in Autumn 2018. This creative exhibition not only displays talented artists, but it showcases an important part of Czech history in a way that is both visually engaging and accessible to the public.