On Wednesday 17th November, the 32nd Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the sixth cast of a bronze bust of the late President Havel will be unveiled in the Academy of Performing Arts (AMU’) owned Café Slavia opposite the National Theatre in Prague.
It is believed to be the first such bust honoring President Havel to go on public display in Prague.
The bust, designed by leading Czech sculptor Marie Seborova, was one of four winners in a competition organized by the Association of Czech and Moravian Sculpors in 2013 in which twenty-seven artists took part producing 34 busts which were displayed in an exhibition at the Czech Academy of Sciences in December of that year. A jury of sculptors, art historians and the late president’s friends picked the best four.
At the time Marie Seborova was quoted as saying that the responsibility of sculpting the legendary hero of the Velvet Revolution had been awesome:
The burden of responsibility was huge, I would say it was even constraining in a way. Because we all admire the late president so much and you want to capture the essence of the man. It took me three months to make up my mind whether to take part in the competition because it was such a huge challenge. That made it so much harder.
In May 2014, Art for Amnesty Founder and VHLF Board Member Bill Shipsey – no stranger to Havel memorials having commissioned the huge Peter Sis designed ‘Flying Man’ Aubusson tapestry that hangs at Prague Airport and then worked with the late artist and designer Borek Sipek in placing six ‘Havel’s Place’ benches in Dublin, Barcelona, Venice, The Hague, Lisbon and Ljubljana – and who had known the late President since 2003 approached Maria Seborova to ask if she would be willing to produce a bronze from her winning design for Art for Amnesty.
Initially, as Marie Seborova tells the story, she thought it was a joke – an Irish lawyer and human rights activist wanting to commission a bust of the late President for display not in the Czech Parliament but in the Irish one. But after meeting Shipsey in Prague in June 2015 she accepted the commission and the first bronze was cast in January 2015.
Chronological Sequence of Placing of the Casts:
Watch this space for news on the next cast for Bratislava in 2022!