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Czech political art still struggling to gain recognition

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Is there a limit to the freedom of artistic expression? One may ask that question when reading about the closure of several artistic projects, which recently emerged in Prague. The most recent one, Achtung!, presented large-scale photographs showing Nazi executioners murdering Jews, with a star of David on the sleeves of the Wehrmacht and SS units members. The author of the exhibition, Polish artist Peter Fuss, said it was a reaction to racist politics of segregation and discrimination used by Jews in Israel against Palestinians in the Gaza strip.

The Achtung! exhibition took place on the Holocaust Remembrance Day Yom HaShoah and in a building owned by the Prague Jewish community. The community members tore the photographs from walls during the opening. Is it ok to damage an artistic project even though it is disputable and inappropriate?

Also vandalised was last year’s project of the Guma Guar artistic group, the Limits of Tolerance, which provided space to an outlawed Union of Communist Youth. Do you agree with Guma Guar that forbidding the communist organisation was a violation of the freedom of speech?

Also last year, the Prague City Hall terminated Guma Guar’s Collective Identity outdoor exhibition showing portraits of Czech entrepreneurs known for their corruption activities and ties with local politicians together with the logo and slogan (We Are All in the National Team) of the city’s official campaign to promote the 2016 Olympic Games in Prague.

Why were city officials using tax payers’ money to promote an event, which they knew would not get green light anyway, the artists argued. Do you tolerate PR campaigns paid by tax payers that are aimed at shaping the public opinion?

An April exhibition allowing visitors of the NoD gallery to shoot at photographs of all 200 members of the Czech lower house, ended without being vandalised or banned. What do you think about this way of expressing one’s opinion?

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