Peter Sís’ Cold War Illustrations Featured in Documentary Exhibition


NEW YORK – Czech Center New York presents Peter Sís — The Wall, a documentary exhibition by the internationally renowned illustrator, author and filmmaker. Curated by Joachim Dvořák and Michaela Å ilpochová, the exhibition is based on Sís’ award-winning autobiographical picture book “The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain”.

On view from September 16 to November 19, 2021, Peter Sís — The Wall will present a series of original illustrations from the book and a documentary installation including drawings, photographs and objects made by Sís as well as objects and ephemera from the period 1950-1980. Featured on replicas of Red Street billboards, which were used for Communist regime propaganda, the installation creates a powerful narrative of the artist’s experience in Prague during the Cold War era. . The exhibition is organized by the Czech Center in New York and produced by the Labyrint Publishing House in collaboration with the DOX Contemporary Art Center and the Czech Centers.

Considered Sís’ most ambitious and personal book, “The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain” is a 2007 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year, a 2009 Caldecott Honor Book, a Bank Street 2008 – Best Children’s Book of the Year, winner of the 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for non-fiction and nominated for the 2008 Eisner Award for best children’s publication.

“Many readers of Peter Sís were not yet born when ‘the wall fell’. His brilliant autobiographical picture book deserves to become a classic, keeping in the collective memory a shameful period in history that should never be forgotten. – Sir Tom Stoppard, British playwright and screenwriter

“Peter Sís’ book is first and foremost about the desire to live your life in freedom and should be required reading for anyone who takes their freedom for granted.” – Václav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic

Masks and vaccination documents required to access the site. Photo ID will be verified.

PETER SÍS is an internationally renowned children’s book writer, illustrator, graphic designer and animated film maker. He was born in 1949 in Brno and grew up in Prague. He studied painting and film at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and at the Royal College of Art in London. He went to America in 1982, where he began illustrating for periodicals like the New York Times and quickly began writing books.

Sís has received numerous awards for his work around the world – from the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival to multiple medals from the American Library Association (three-time Caldecott Honor winner). He is an eight-time New York Times Book Review winner for best illustrated book of the year. He received two Ragazzi awards from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Peter Sís was the first children’s book artist to be named MacArthur Fellow and in 2012 he won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Lifetime Achievement. His animated work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. His works can also be found in public spaces, from a mosaic in the New York subway to giant tapestries at the airports of Prague, Dublin and Cape Town. Sís lives in the New York area with his family.

The mission of the CZECH CENTER is to actively promote the Czech Republic by showcasing Czech culture, innovations and creativity in the United States. Its program covers visual and performing arts, cinema, literature, music, architecture, design and fashion, science and social innovations. In addition to hosting its own events, the Czech Center offers support to other groups organizing intercultural initiatives between Czech and American partners.

The Czech Center also seeks to further strengthen cultural relations between the United States and the Czech Republic through curatorial visits, media tours and artistic residencies; help generate a creative dialogue between artists, academics, scientists and cultural activists from both countries. The Center promotes the teaching of the Czech language and offers a series of Czech language courses.

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