Barbora Klimszová’s, “Swan,” 2010, part of the Reconnecting Through Photography: Czech Republic-Slovak Republic exhibit. Image courtesy of Barbora Klimszova.
Ashley Toman The Signal
UHCL has teamed up with artists from around the country for a photo exhibition entitled, Reconnecting Through Photography: Czech Republic-Slovak Republic, which explores the separation of the Czech and Slovak Republics through artistic pieces.
The exhibit is on the second floor of UHCL Bayou Building, Atrium 1, through April 6. There will be a panel discussion March 22, 6-8 p.m. in the Forest Room of the Bayou Building.
“There are several reasons students and faculty should come and support this event; first and foremost, it’s free,” said Jeremy Bowen, coordinator of audience development at UHCL. “Secondly, it’s hard to see the world and go to other countries, especially Eastern Europe because it is less accessible. So, to be able to listen to art in their own words from a culture that you may not be familiar with will be a truly rewarding experience.”
The exhibition is being held in conjunction with FotoFest 2012 Biennial, the United States’ largest international photography festival, and is part of the University of Houston-Clear Lake International Art Consortium, which includes the following universities: University of Hawaii; Universidad de Veracruzana in Xalapa, Mexico; the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic; University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia; and the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia.
“Personally, I am excited about the opportunities that the Biennial exhibitions offer to students in the Houston area,” said Kristin Skabovig, program director of the FotoFest Writing and Photography Project. “It is the mission of FotoFest to provide not only cutting-edge photographic work, but also to share and educate the public by covering broad-ranging concepts and ideas. For example, Literacy Through Photography, the in-school student education program of FotoFest, will be releasing an online curriculum that will be available for students to view and respond to images from the Biennial, directly from computers within their classrooms.”
FotoFest is a nonprofit photographic arts and education organization whose mission is to “promote the exchange of art and ideas through international programs and the presentation of photographic art.” FotoFest works globally and locally to bring together an international appreciation of artwork from around the globe.
“This year will be FotoFest’s 14th Biennial festival and Houston will be flooded with photographers, curators, enthusiasts, professionals, hobbyists and other interested parties as nearly every empty wall in the city that could hold a work of art will be holding photographs for the event,” said Matthew Linton, associate professor of applied design and graphic arts at UHCL. “It is an incredible display and something we are so lucky to have here in our home city.”
The UHCL exhibition includes 30 works of art from 26 artists from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, and the Institute of Art and Design at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
This particular exhibition welcomes all individuals interested in gaining knowledge through photography and creative artwork, as well as an understanding of the historic elements in the Czech and Slovak nations.
“I am looking forward to providing a historical perspective to the exhibit by connecting the photographs on display to the complex story of Czech and Slovak relations in the modern era,” said Zachary Doleshal, featured panelist and Ph.D candidate specializing in Czech history at the University of Texas at Austin. “It will be interesting to look at this exhibit as evidence of a continuing affinity and cooperation between the two nations.”
Students and faculty from the universities in Czech and Slovak Republics sent in four individual art pieces that were juried and chosen by Clint Willour, curator at the Galveston Arts Center, who decided which pieces of art would be seen at the exhibition and reviewed by the panelists.
“This is the first time, to my knowledge, that work from both countries have been exhibited together in this country,” Willour said.
Various types of artwork are featured in the exhibition, including landscape, architecture, interiors, still life, dream visions and imagery.
“Hopefully, by coming to this event, the public can gain a deeper understanding of Czech-Slovak relations, both today and in the past,” Doleshal said. “The exhibit will also be a physical manifestation of the cultural ties created between the two nations in the tumultuous 20th century. So it should be quite interesting, even to the casual observer.”