Ivana Nacherová

* 1961  

  • “In which ways do you feel your Ukrainian origin?” – “When I hear Ukrainian language I certainly listen – today it’s nothing special. I take the bus somewhere beyond Levý Hradec a lot. Otherwise it’s mainly from my grandpa. Our dad always argued with mum that us children are more Ukrainian than mum herself because mum had fifty percent of Ukrainian blood in her and we had seventy percent. I care about what’s happening there and such.” – “When many Ukrainians come here to work now, do you get on well with them? Do you have some friends among them? – “I talk to them, sometimes I even start singing some songs. I’m definitely not a condescending person even though it’s completely different people than what I grew up with in the Ukrainian minority, full of Ukrainian intelligentsia. These are regular guys going to work… Once I started singing songs to them at a stop and it was beautiful. Even my cousins worked here, they were college students and they did ordinary bricklaying work but no one distinguishes that, all people see is laborers. That was in the 1990s. Many people look down on them. I’m not saying bad things don’t happen sometimes, that comes with the time. And there is crime in every community. As they say, necessity makes people err, and hunger drives the wolf from the woods. They are out of their home country and anyway, the migration of people is on the edge now. But that’s how it has always been, tribes wiping out other tribes, since the prehistoric times.”

  • Marie Leontovyčová’s sculptures

  • “Do you have any life motto? – “I do. Nothing is random. Everything happens for a reason even though sometimes it might not seem like it.” – “Which was the best period in your life?” – “Probably when I was around six years old or something like that. I was already growing mature and I was with my grandpa Ivan Leontovyč a lot. And then when I started a family and was looking forward to the adult life. I married for love and I like to look back on it. And then also the time when I started working in the Central Bohemian Museum and had a great team of people around me. And generally speaking, I like living in this world despite the hardships of life. I wake up in the morning and I tell myself with this hope that the day will be nice. Right now, spending as much time with my mum as possible is what’s on my mind.”

  • “Our father had to leave the Academy of Fine Arts because he didn’t want to join the Party. He got an opportunity in Příbram where the senior doctor Šedivý helped him get a job in promoting the Příbram ore mines. Dad then did the socialist realism as well. Every time there were the miners’ days he casted small hammers and the miners’ symbols and took part in the cultural development of Příbram. The people were pretty decent, we used to go there and as a child I didn’t distinguish between Communists and non-Communists. Although the comrades sometimes patted each other on the back. But they considered dad to be an exceptional artist. So their relations to him were as like towards someone exceptional. He also charitably led different courses there. He prepared kids for their studies at the painting and sculpture studio.”

  • “Everything was complicated, and it was because of the regime as many things would otherwise be easily solvable. Like normally we would go visit our grandma and then we would return back home. As it’s done today. But nothing was done “normally” back then. You couldn’t go to church, you couldn’t buy what you needed – for that you had to shop around, nothing was done normally, nothing. So, one tried to find his own little world. I read a lot and painted.”

  • “My mother used to say: ‘So they came to see me again, I am so afraid they will lock us all up’ or ‘that they will lock me up’ … and grandpa Ivan Leontovyč would tell her: ‘Marjusa, always stay out of politics, it’s dirty business.’ That was a well-known slogan in our family. My mum would always play this ingénue. I was there once too but didn’t recognize it. I was her model for something. I am modeled as a girl with a ball somewhere. So, I didn’t understand what was going on, I just saw my mum being all different and naïve and giggling and saying: ‘And I don’t know, here’s my girl, here’s a dog and a giraffe...’ She talked to them like this, like she didn’t care about anything and somehow she got away with it and never got locked up. But they were interested in my parents and in the family for sure. In the bad way I mean. This family, they were never left at peace, but I don’t know about all that was happening there.”

  • “Mom cherished both her dad and her mum, and she loved her dad very much. She said that before they had locked him up they had already come for him twice to the villa in Břevnov where they had lived. My mom had hidden him in the cellar. She had suffered from water on the lungs back then and once the State Security agent poked her with his gun. They looked for Ukrainian sheet music, family pictures and stuff like that. It wasn’t easy, how they tried to catch my grandpa. They kept looking for a letter that they couldn’t find and then somehow they found a letter that no one had ever seen before and they arrested him based on that. He had still been exchanging letters with family and friends in Ukraine and was cementing the Ukrainian minority. So I guess they found something there that they considered to be an opposition to the then communist regime.”

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    Praha, 24.04.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:29:40
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Nothing was done “normally” in the totalitarian times, even the simplest things were extremely complicated

Ivana Nacherová, née Lošáková, was born June 25, 1961 into an artistic family of Marie Leontovyčová and Ivan Lošák. She has a sister who is two years older than her. Her mother’s side of the family comes from Western Ukraine where her ancestors had been given a title of nobility. They had worked as Greek Orthodox clergymen, high church officials and revivalists of Western Ukraine. Grandfather Ivan Leontovyč (1893-1970) studied theology in Lviv and philosophy in Prague and was a stenographer for prezidents Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Edvard Beneš. He was imprisoned by Communists between the years 1948 and 1953; he was rehabilitated after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Ivana’s father Ivan Lošák came from Zakarpattia and came to Prague during World War II. Ivana’s parents graduated from both Ukrainian and Czech Academy of Arts. Her mother focused on sculptures and the restoration of sculptures; her father was a painter. He refused to join the Communist Party for which he was fired from the Academy of Arts; he found a new job in Příbram. Ivana studied at a higher vocational school of arts between 1974 and 1980, majoring in textile arts and restoration. In 1983 her husband emigrated after he hadn’t returned from a trip to visit his grandmother in Monaco. In the meantime, Ivana gave birth to a handicapped daughter who required special care. Ivana was subjected to State Security interrogations because of her husband’s emigration. In 1987, on the third try, she was accepted to the Academy of Fine Arts but did not commence her studies – another student was given preference on the request of the then minister of culture. When her kids were small, she devoted herself to painting and textile work, then she worked as a metal conservator in the Central Bohemian Museum in Roztoky u Prahy. In 2018 she organized an exhibition called Seen by Hands for her mother in Roztoky. After Ivan Lošák’s death (in 1990), his wife donated most of his work to a museum in Uzhgorod, Ukraine.