Detroiter’s Book and Art Feature of Scarab Club Event

Detroiter’s Book and Art Feature of Scarab Club Event

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DETROIT — Join librarian, publisher Sandra Novacek at Detroit’s historic Scarab Club on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 6:00 p.m., for an illustrated talk on the story of her late husband Charles Novacek’s life as told in his award-winning memoir, Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance.

Endorsed by Madeleine Albright, the firsthand account describes the impact of World War II and the Cold War on a Czechoslovakian boy (Charles) who participated in the Czech Resistance against the Nazis and the Communists, from age 11 to 20. After escaping his homeland, Novacek fled to Germany, then Venezuela and finally immigrated to the United States and Detroit.

Sandra will show vintage family photos and give details of the dangers her husband faced in the resistance. She’ll explain how art played an important role in Charles’ life during wartime and how his dream of becoming an artist was shattered when Hitler closed Czechoslovakia’s art schools.

The event will be enhanced by an exhibit of Charles Novacek’s paintings from age 13 to 75. Also on display will be a collaborative mixed media piece by Czech American artist, Sonya Darrow inspired by Charles Novacek’s life. The artist created a piece that tells his story while connecting to traditional forms of Czech folk art: embroidery and folk motifs.  Sonya chose a technique that connects to another layer of Novacek’s story; travel documents used from border to border.  The process is a paper transfer to canvas. The art piece opens a dialogue on Czech culture and a piece of important history told by Charles.

In addition, a selection of vintage Czech and Slovak embroidered folk costumes (kroj) from the collection of Jan Letowski will be exhibited.  Jan is an independent researcher, consultant and curator of European ethnographic dress. He holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. He lectures on the history and function of clothing in traditional societies, namely of Eastern Europe, and collects ethnographic material related to his research. His emphasis is on preservation and on increasing the awareness of the value of folk dress to the study of history and art.

The evening will conclude with a book signing and reception with Czech apple strudel and beverages. The event is free and books will be available for sale.

For information contact Sandra Novacek at 313.832.1148 or Treena Flannery Ericson at 313.831.1250. The Scarab Club is located at 217 Farnsworth, Detroit, MI 48202 just east of the Detroit Institute of Arts.


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