13. 10. 2008 11:44

Exhibition 13. 10. 2008 - 27. 1. 2009: At the Dawn

The exhibition to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The opening ceremony for the exhibition at the Straka Academy was held on Monday 13 October. The exhibition was opened by Prime Minister M. Topolánek and Minister Džamila Stehlíková. Mário Biháry and Adam Pospíšil appeared as guests at the opening. The concept for the exhibition was authored by MUDr. Zdeněk Kalvach.

At the Dawn – An exhibition commemorating the never-ending process of ennobling humanity.

The exhibition is to honour the Declaration and the attempts and ideals of both its creators and defenders of human rights. It aims to at least briefly remind viewers of the historical context and development trends that, in developed countries, today primarily accent equal opportunities, anti-discrimination measures, social inclusion, self-realisation and participation of minorities, and the humanisation of the life of especially disadvantaged and endangered people. The aim is not a teaching exhibition, a comprehensive explanation with definitions and lists of documents, institutions, agendas and a summary of current problems.

It presents more of a view into the world of human rights, an outline of its scope and a mosaic of activities without a demand for completeness—there is no space, for example, for prison matters, national and international controls on compliance with human rights and many important partial phenomena, some of which would be worth a separate exhibition of their own. The aim of the exhibition is not only to inform, but primarily to heighten interest, public discussion, involved citizenship and the resolution of partial phenomena—as we are still at the dawn of full emancipation and equal opportunities for all human beings.

The authors of the project (see below) are also aware that the current young generation, which, luckily, does not have direct experience of totalitarianism and the managed debasement of human dignity, perceives freedom as something obvious and invulnerable. One of the exhibition’s significant aims is to encourage young people’s interest in the issue of human rights. Only if young people realise how much work, sacrifice and experience stands behind the current form of democracy will they be able to avoid some tragic errors in their own search and discovery of what freedom means.

Because, in particular, young people should get the chance to fully realise that they are the proud bearers of a message about the indomitability of human desire for the search for justice and freedom. For them, the history of the development of human rights and democracy should be a source of self-confidence, mistrust of generalisations of all types, respect and courage. Courage for real freedom of thought. This freedom places immense demands on people. And this is why man is still at the dawn of implementing his ideals.

Concept’s author: MUDr. Zdeněk Kalvach

Exhibition commissioner: PhDr. Lucie Wittlichová

Graphic design: Jerome s.r.o. - Petr Liška Production and realisation: Jerome s.r.o.

The following people worked on the exhibition: (dealing with the topic, providing source materials and photographs, consultation): the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic–human rights and transformation policy department, the Institution for Studying Totalitarian Regimes (Martin Tichý), the Ministry of Health and a number of nongovernmental non-profit organisations: the Czech Helsinki Committee, the Human Rights League, People in Need, the Czech Women’s Lobby, Gender Studies, the Our Child Foundation, Safety Line, the SOS Children’s Villages Association, On Own Feet (Centipede), Together (Olomouc), the Association of Former Political Prisoners, The Way Home, Life 90, Diakonie ČCE, the Karlovy Vary Parish Charity, the Prague Jewish Community, the Prague Jewish Museum, Word 21, the Prague Multicultural Centre, the Centre for Integration of Foreigners, Nový prostor, and the Prague Wheelchair Council.

We would like to thank all the photographers that provided their work for free, includingChad Evans Wyatt, who provided the set Roma Rising: Roma Revival. We would also like to thank the following for archive photo documentation: Aktuálně.cz, Lidové noviny, Prague Jewish Museum, IWM Collections and Auschwitz Scrapbook. Special thanks go to Mgr. J. Hromada and workers at the Section for Human Rights at the Office of the Government of the CzechRepublic - PhDr. A. Sulitka, Ing. R. Soukupová, RNDr. M. Pospíšil, JUDr. D. Zelenková, JUDr. P. Ptáčník, Mgr, L. Otáhalová, Mgr. K. Manová, Mgr. J. Machaček, PhDr. R. Hůlková, Z. Duna - for working on the source materials. The graphics for the exhibition and the poster used the graphic design for the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was created for the United Nations 30 years ago by the Brazilian artist Octavio Roth.

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