Ema Blažková Such Things

10.03.2008 | 16:20
Ema Blažková

Ema Blažková was born in Prague, on the last day of the summer holidays in 1924, in a clerk’s family. It’s hard to tell whom she inherited her creative gifts from. Yet despite all the diffi culties that life prepared for her, she always managed to delight people she met with her painting, even in the most extreme moments and situations.

During the war, when she studied at the lyceum in Roudnice nad Labem, she became one of Czech student victims of Nazi terror during the so-called heydrichiada. Less than one month after the assassination of Reichsprotektor Heydrich, on June 20, 1942, offi cers from Gestapo’s headquarters in Kladno occupied the lyceum building in Roudnice and arrested 84 students. The pretexts for the action were alleged preparations to assassinate Alfred Bauer,
a teacher of the German elementary school in Roudnice and a Gestapo informer. The arrested students, among them Ema Blažková and sixteen girls from the seventh form A, were transported for interrogation in the Small Fortress in Terezín. The girls served as cleaning workers, the young men were taken to work outside the Small Fortress. She was released from Terezín, where two of the imprisoned students perished, only on November 2, 1942. Ema Blažková’s drawings from the Terezín period depict the prisoners’ everyday life. On pieces of paper she managed to catch particular parts of the ever-same days, and also to document various nooks of the Small Fortress, especially of the women’s court. Her portraits of her co-prisoners are expressive and for a young lady remarkably mature; a group portrait of all the detained school-mates from Roudnice is an interesting historical document of that time. Already then Ema Blažková proved the polyvalence of her art.

After the war she graduated from the state lyceum in Roudnice; later she studied drawing at the Czech Technical University in Prague, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design. In 1955 she undertook several study journeys to foreign countries, among them Vietnam, Bulgaria and Germany. But again and again she eagerly returned to the favourite motives of her beloved Prague, Příbram, and well-known places in Czech mountains and foothills. She had individual exhibitions from 1948, not only in then Czechoslovakia, but also in Athens, Munich, Leningrad, for the last time in 2002 in Litoměřice. She devoted much time to illustrate children books as well as to teach her children’s schoolmates. Ema Blažková was marked, both as an artist and as a human, by the imprisonment in Terezín. It was a trauma which she could not get rid of until her death. Already during her studies at art schools, it expressed itself as an insuppressible resistance against totality – at that time represented by the incoming communist regime. It was just a question of time until the permanent confl icts with the communist machinery grew into an open clash. At the beginning of the 70’s, in the time of party purges and merciless normalisation, Ema Blažková was arrested on the basis of fabricated accusations. From the detention in Ruzyně prison she was later transferred to Bohnice asylum, where her serious mental disease developed fully. While her turbulent life path so far had paradoxically positive infl uence on her creativity, this time it was the other way round. Ema Blažková, mother of three children, died in the day of her 79th birthday, on August 31, 2003 in Prague.

Luděk Sládek

Terezín Memorial

Ema Blažková – Drawing from the Small Fortress Terezín Ema Blažková – Drawing from the Small Fortress Terezín Ema Blažková – Drawing from the Small Fortress Terezín Obrázek č.1 Obrázek č.2 Obrázek č.3 Obrázek č.4 Obrázek č.5

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