1989 | The Velvet Revolution

The End of the Totalitarian Regime in Czechoslovakia

1 November 2019 –  3 January 2020 | www.touching1989.org

Czech Centre London’s new online photographic exhibition looks back at the heady events which culminated in the 1989 Velvet Revolution through the lenses of fifteen leading Czech photographers who captured the ground-breaking moment in Czech history and the exhilarating atmosphere that followed.

Curated by the main Czech photographer Dana Kyndrová, the 1989 | The Velvet Revolution exhibition brilliantly records the whole context of the events leading up to the demonstration against the totalitarian regime in 1988 while providing an insight into the revolutionary movements and explaining the importance of figures such as Václav Havel, who became the first Czech president. Many of these sixty photographs have now become iconic images, documenting the peaceful civic resistance which transformed political domination by one party into a pluralist democracy. They evidence key moments leading up to the collapse of the communist dictatorship: the 1988 demonstration, ‘Palach’s Week’ in January 1989 and the student protests of 17th November, 1989. The dream of freedom and openness at the end of 1989 was powerful, exciting, and inspiring.

The overall insight into the atmosphere, capturing the moods and faces of ordinary people living in Czechoslovakia, as well as those of political representatives, whether the ones who seized power in line with the Communist Party or those who rose to power with the revolution, is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Curator: Dana Kyndrová
Photographers: Radek Bajgar, Radovan Boček, Karel Cudlín, Přemysl Hněvkovský, Lubomír Kotek, Jaroslav Kučera, Michal Krumphanzl (Czech Press Agency), Dana Kyndrová, Petr Matička (Czech Press Agency), Roman Sejkot, Jan Šibík, Jan Šilpoch, Pavel Štecha, Jiří Všetečka, Miroslav Zajíc
Visual layout: Pavla Hradcová
Introductory text: Jiří Suk, Institute of Contemporary History at the Czech Academy of Sciences
Organizers: Czech Centres & the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic