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Czech News in English » Life » Arts » Czech dissident sculptor Zoubek dies

Czech dissident sculptor Zoubek dies

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Prague, June 15 (CTK) – Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek, who created a monument to victims of the Communist regime in Prague, died at the age of 91 years in Prague yesterday, Zoubek’s son-in-law, director of the National Film Archives, Michal Bregant, has told journalists.

Zoubek also made its mark by having made the death mask of Jan Palach, who immolated himself in protest against the Communist regime, in 1969.

“Czech art lost one of its most distinguished personalities today,” Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) tweeted, adding that Zoubek has entered the history of Czech culture.

Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), too, called Zoubek’s departure a huge loss.

“Olbram Zoubek was one of the artists whom I deeply respected for their high professionalism combined with moral qualities,” Herman wrote.

Similarly, Zoubek’s artistic achievements and high moral level was appreciated by Deputy PM Pavel Belobradek (KDU-CSL).

Zoubek himself used to say that he considered himself a craftsman.

“I like to make living statues, exposed to rain, frost and wind,” Zoubek told CTK.

Human figure was the main topic of Zoubek’s creation. His statues are typical of a slender and long form and resolute gestures and postures.

His work is represented in a number of galleries inside and outside the Czech Republic and private collections.

“This is called a challenge, what I felt when Jan Palach died. It was a real divide in my life. I felt that one could not live as before,” Zoubek said.

“So it occurred to me that I could render a service few people can or are willing to do, which means making his death mask,” he told CTK last year.

Due to this, Zoubek became troublesome to the Communist regime and during the era of Communist hardliners in the 1970s and 1980s his public activities were strictly limited.

For a time, he worked as a restorer in Litomysl, east Bohemia. After the 1989 ousting of the Communist regime, Zoubek actively contributed to the democratic change.

Recently, Zoubek worked on a statue of Catholic priest Josef Toufar, who died due to the maltreatment in Communist detention in 1950.

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