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    Illustrations by a famous children’s books writer in Wroclaw Museum

    The National Museum in Wroclaw opened an exhibition dedicated to the illustrations by Stěpán Zavřel. He was a Czech artist and writer of children’s books, who fled from Czechoslovakia during the communist regime and built a career in Western Europe. The exhibition of his works is open until July 31st in CK Agora in Wroclaw.

    The exhibition was initiated by Tatarak Publishing House, which created a series ‘Me, European.’ Its point is to promote the works of important figures in European literature. One of those authors is Stěpán Zavřel, because – according to the publisher – his books convey universal themes such as humanism, respect towards children’s rights and other cultures, and glorification of nature.

    Stěpán Zavřel was born in 1932 in Prague. He spent his youth in Czechoslovakia, run by a communist regime since the end of World War II. Due to strong restrictions on freedom of speech, he decided to flee the country in 1959. At first, he planned to escape from Albania to Greece, however, its borders were too well-guarded. Fortuitously for him, his plane back to Czechoslovakia had to stop in Belgrade for repairs, and that’s when Zavřel managed to escape. He crossed the Italian-Yugoslav border near Trieste and then arrived in Rome.

    During his emigration, he continued his studies in cinematography at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma. Later he studied Scenography and Costume Design at Kunst Akademie in Munich, and from 1965-to 1968 he was a film director at Richard Williams Studio in London. In 1968 he finally settled down in Sàrmede, Italy. 

    In 1973, he established Bohem Press, where he published children’s books. Ten years later, he founded the International Exhibition of Children’s Book Illustrations, and in 1988 founded the International Illustration Academy. His works were exhibited in many museums not only in Europe (Italy, Norway, Sweden) but also in America (U.S.A) and South Africa. Stěpán Zavřel died in 1999.

     

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