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Remembering Jan Patočka: “The Socrates of Prague” (Willems, 2017) – ‘For those living through the bewildering chaos of Brexit in the UK his ideas couldn’t be more germane to charting a way out of the crisis.’

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In 1977, Jan Patočka became the unlikely spokesperson of the civil right movement Charter 77, challenging the flagrant disregard of human rights in Czechoslovakia.  Forty years later, his ideas have become very relevant in the time of increasing national chauvinism within Europe and elsewhere. For those living through the bewildering chaos of Brexit in the…

Alison Miller | 19/03/2019
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MUSIC: Review of ‘Dream About’ by Polish Band Trupa Trupa

This new single by Gdansk-based four-piece Trupa Trupa bears all the hallmarks of their distinctive style – repetition, a tightness of arrangement, searing guitar, haunting vocals and enigmatic lyrics. Starting with a simple drum beat that’s soon joined by a fluent bass line before the vocals come in, it’s very repetitive but this is part…

Ian Mole | 14/03/2019
Lada Semecká, Flow V (2015) Fused Glass, 78x86x3 cm. Photo© Štěpánka Stein

Glass Rituals: Galerie Kuzebauch at Collect 2019 (Saatchi Gallery London) – ‘showing the possibilities of contemporary Czech glass’

Galerie Kuzebauch’s exhibition for Collect 19 challenges the perception that Czech glass is a male domain, normally associated with figures like René Roubíček, Václav Cigler and Bořek Šípek. International fairs from the 1950s to 1970s also cast a long shadow. The collaborative work of Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová often dominates in the British and…

Rebecca Bell | 05/03/2019
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New Poetry from Bulgaria: MARGARITA SERAFIMOVA

“This set includes poems about the anguished euphoria of passionate desire (No. 1), the visionary ontological promise of finding a soulmate (No. 8-9), the transformative power of interpersonal human dedication against the odds (No. 7), as well as poems from the islands of Milos and Ikaria in Greece (No. 3 and 10) and Lamu in Kenya (No. 4-6).…

Julia Secklehner | 22/02/2019
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Book Review: Rachel Karafistan & Kamil Macejko’s “My Parents Are Not My Real Parents” (Centrala, 2017) – ‘truly unique’

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It’s difficult to say what kind of book My Parents really is. Judging by its cover, occupied by wallowing yellow hair and a lot of pink, naked flesh, suspicions are it’s a pop-coloured graphic novel that’s, somehow, a bit naughty. If that’s your assumption, you’d be wrong though. On the first few pages, author Rachel…

Julia Secklehner | 20/02/2019
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Polish Heritage Days 2019: Call for Participation

[from the Polish Cultural Institute] Deadline for submissions: 15 March 2019 Deadline for submissions: 15 March 2019 All application forms available here This year, we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the formal establishment of Polish–British diplomatic relations and the centenary of the renewal of Polish–British bilateral relations. In the atmosphere of friendship and cordiality, we…

Julia Secklehner | 19/02/2019
Roman Vishniac, "Jewish school children, Mukacevo", ca. 1935–38 © Mara Vishniac Kohn.
Courtesy International Center of Photography. On display at Jewish Museum London.

EXHIBITION REVIEW: ‘Roman Vishniac Rediscovered’ – “a must-see!”

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With a career spanning over fifty years, photographer Roman Vishniac (1897-1990) has left an impressive legacy, housed at the International Center of Photography in New York (ICP). While relatively few of his photographs were known until recently, the ICP has digitalised much of his estate in 2013, creating a whole website dedicated to his work.…

Julia Secklehner | 11/02/2019
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‘Pilecki’ (Krzyszkowskiego, 2015) screening and Q&A with Anthony Polonsky and Mary Fulbrook – an evening ‘driven by the passion and scholarship of Polonsky and Fulbrook’

Pilecki’s a Polish film about an undoubted World War II hero: Witold Pilecki (1901-1948), a member of the Polish resistance, who allowed himself to be arrested and sent to Auschwitz, from where he could escape again, providing one of the first accounts of Nazi atrocities in the concentration camps. Truly exceptional, it’s hardly any wonder…

Alison Miller | 09/02/2019