Jaroslava Bičovská

* 1945

  • "I started to produce art again properly, as I imagined, only back in 1991 or 1992, right after the revolution. And in the eighty-ninth I had an exhibition in Pilsen and I came from the opening, I slept there, and it was November 17, 1989, when I was returning from that Pilsen. And I had no idea what was going on here, the cops were everywhere. Now I know about everything that happened. Well, the boys were at the unis at the time, so they also had some night patrols on the Wenceslas square. Well, I was out again. So I came to Brandýs and started only about two years after I recovered from it all. And what I even looked around the world for were were so isolated here that we didn't even know anything about Western art, no one here did, and it was really hard to find."

  • "He (note: the husband) started working at the Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences and there he kept running into the problems with the Czech language, so in the end he went to a language school. And because he also studied Russian, he did his postgraduate studies, so he taught, as he was an Arab, he taught Russian to Czechs and then he also taught Arabic to Czechs. But the time came when, in Brezhnev's time, there was such an obligation for all schools to teach Brezhnev's book, perhaps someone else wrote it, of course, it was called The Little Country. And he received an order from the teacher or the headmaster of the language school that she must also teach The Little Country. And the husband said, 'Well, who is Brezhnev? I don't know such a writer.' And by doing that he signed his sentence, that he was no longer allowed to teach Russian, but at least they left him there in Arabic."

  • Full recordings
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    Brandýs nad Labem, 10.11.2021

    duration: 01:07:25
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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One always has to do something and be humble at work

Jaroslava Bičovská in the 1st grade in 1951
Jaroslava Bičovská in the 1st grade in 1951
photo: archiv pamětnice

Jaroslava Bičovská was born on August 12, 1945 in Brandýs nad Labem into the family of a lawyer and music teacher. She has been painting and playing the piano since she was little. She also participated in music competitions, in which she was successful, but had a natural talent for painting. After primary school, she entered a grammar school, where she only studied for a year. Then she transferred to a high school of art in Prague, where she graduated with excellent results. For political reasons, she was not allowed to continue her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1964, she joined the Vyšehrad publishing house as a technical and art editor. A year later, she married the Syrian Charif Bahbouh, who emigrated to Czechoslovakia for political reasons. In November 1968, the book Školák Kája Mařík was published with her illustrations in a volume of 150,000 copies. In January 1969, the censors found it flawed and withdrew it from sale. After the Warsaw Pact invasion, the witness withdrew from social life, devoted herself to her two young sons, and did not paint for almost seven years. She came back to painting in the 1980s. On November 16, 1989, she opened her exhibition in Pilsen. After the revolution, she and her husband founded the Dar Ibn Rushd publishing house, which specialized in oriental literature. They have published about 250 books. In addition to authorial work, he also works in illustrations. In 2021 she lived in Brandýs nad Labem.