Saturday, 19 April 2014

Czech-born New Zealand artist Mirek Smíšek dies at 88

22 May 2013

Prague/Wellington, May 21 (CTK) - Czech-born artist Mirek Smisek, who participated in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, died in New Zealand on Sunday aged 88 years, former Czech ambassador to Australia Juraj Chmiel told CTK yesterday.

In his artistic creation, Smisek focused on salt-glazed pottery and china.

He won fame with his ceramic artifacts for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001-2003) based on J. R. R. Tolkien' fantasy stories and directed by Peter Jackson.

Smisek and his wife made some 700 vases, cups and other ceramic items that reflected the spirit of the imaginary setting in the films.

Chmiel, who knew Smisek personally, recalled that Smisek ranked among the most distinctive Czech expatriates.

Smisek, born in 1925 in Czechoslovakia, joined the anti-Nazi resistance movement and he was arrested. He spent most of WWII in Nazi forced labour camps.

After the communist coup in Czechoslovakia in 1948, he fled abroad. First he moved to Australia and later he settled down in Auckland, New Zealand, where he became the first independent artistic ceramicist.

He studied ceramics not only in Australia but also in Britain and Japan.

Smisek's works were displayed all over the world and he won several awards.

In 2011, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg presented Smisek with the Gratias Agit award for promoting the Czech Republic's good name abroad.

A meeting in memory of Smisek will be held in Wellington on the last day of his exhibition entitled 60 Years 60 Pots on Sunday, June 9.

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