The journey of Zaváté šlépěje project
The journey of Zaváté šlépěje project

With a ceremonial opening, we ended the project Zaváté šlépěje, which was organized by our gallery together with the pupils of O. Březina Elementary School and College of Polytechnics Jihlava with the financial support of the Jihlava city.

The story of "Šlépěje" began to be written in June 2023, when O. Březina Elementary Schoolasked us if we would be interested in long-term cooperation in the following school year. We were very pleased with that. We agreed on several short-term programs that individual teachers choose themselves and on a year-long project for one class of humanities seminar. The project, entitled "Zaváté šlépěje", referred to the life and work of the sculptor Jaroslav Šlezinger.

In September 2023, we had our first meeting with the pupils. At that moment, we had no idea where the project would lead us. The output of the entire project was supposed to be posters on the topic of freedom, which we wanted to display in the gallery at the end. During the third meeting, the students and I followed in the footsteps of Jaroslav Šlezinger from Jihlava. We also stopped at the College of Polytechnics Jihlava, the building of the former court, where executions took place in the 1950s and where the sculptor was imprisoned and sentenced without jurisdiction. This information affected and surprised the children a lot. They asked why there is no memorial at the site of the former gallows, so that passers-by know what a turbulent history the place hides. So I started to find out if it would be possible to try our own installation. The whole project suddenly gained a new dimension and energy.

When we found out that the installation of the architect Mr. Zdeněk Sendler was going to take place on the site, we arranged with the city for a possible temporary intervention of the pupils. At the same time, we approached the rectorate of the college, which was in favor of our plan. In addition, we managed to establish cooperation with the JAM (Jihlava Architectural Manual) educators, sculptor Tereza Tecl Brussmannnová and architect Vojtěch Tecl. They stayed with us throughout the project and were a great asset to us. They were able to advise us both artistically and technically. Especially when the students decided to create artistic sculptures of figures from metal rods. The artistic blacksmith Luděk Kalný helped us with the actual implementation. At one point, we even came to see him at the forge with the students, and it was an experience. He bent the rods according to the students' designs in actual size right in front of us. The figures were created by children tracing each other, so the sculptures are real people. The message of the installation is to remember not only those executed, but also those who remained… mothers, wives, sisters and entire families.

The opening ceremony was a worthy culmination of the year-long project. We are very happy for the large participation of the public. We appreciate everyone who came to support the students. It's great that we adults and children are not indifferent to what happened in the past in our immediate surroundings. And that gives us hope for a better future.


Pavlína Pitrová, May 2024

Mgr. Pavlína Pitrová

phone number: 567 217 133; 604 875 412

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