ak. soch. Petr Novák

* 1957  

  • "It simply did not happen that we would go there. But for myself, because I was just in Prague arranging something, not quite purposefully, I found out that it was October 28th and that people were gathering in the Old Town Square. I went to support it when I was already there. It was tough there; I saw terrible scenes. The old lady was smashed with a baton over her face and someone pulled her from there bloody. It was very rough, they used water cannons. I got a blue and black mark all over my back. I was glad to find out firsthand how the state is defending itself."

  • "In this debate, and also because I trusted him, to Hanzík, I said to him, 'Dear Associate Professor.' I always called him 'Associate Professor.' In my soul, I felt that although he had entered the party at the age of seventeen, he was motivated by his grandfather, who was an anarchist. I understood that he had entered there out of initial enthusiasm and then could no longer get out because he would lose his career. He tried, according to what he said, to help people here and there from his position in the party. God knows how it really was, but I believe him. Under pressure to join the Communist Party, I told him that I had a grandfather who had unfortunately already died and whom I loved very much. He was a staunch anti-fascist and an equally staunch anti-communist. I couldn't join the Communist Party and then come to his grave and look him in the eyes."

  • "Later we were driving with my mom and dad, or they themselves, around the region and we were turning signs, pointers over. The aim was for Hradec Králové radio to be able to broadcast as long as possible. And it kept broadcasting because the cars were going around. My dad knew the region perfectly, as a photographer. He led them on different paths so that it was always a different path, but still always a circle. Then he also wrote some leaflets, which someone translated into Polish for him, because here in Náchod there were people from Poland that came here. In Jaroměř there was a tank convoy up to Náchod. There, my father and I distributed leaflets to those tanks that informed that there was no counter-revolution, that there was a democratization of normal socialism, that there was no reason to free us, that there was nothing to do. An officer got out of one tank, apparently a political officer or a political commissar, with a submachine gun. He fired the submachine gun, reached out, put it to my stomach, and said to my dad, 'Now you read it, or I'll shoot him!'

  • "The names of the signatories were broadcast on the Voice of America. We listened to it and we were happy that, for example, all the stonemasons from the quarry near Hořice signed it. I said to my wife, 'You see, stonemasons, they are a reliable kind.' Of course, they named me. A car arrived, and the chairman of the national committee and the secretary of culture from the district committee got out. - "Did they come to your house?" - "To our house. I was just casting in the studio. I said to myself, 'It's the one from the culture, maybe there could be a job from it...' I washed my hands from the plaster, I went downstairs from the studio, where these communists were sitting in the living room and smoking. There was an oppressive atmosphere, not just smoke. They said to me, 'How could you do this to us? Why did you do that? 'You can be sure you will never get any order anymore.”

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    Hradec Králové, 09.03.2019

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It was the end. But their end.

2004. Petr Novák with Niva
2004. Petr Novák with Niva
photo: Family archive

Petr Novák was born on May 4, 1957 in Jaroměř to a family of clerks who spent their free time photographing and classical singing, so he grew up in an artistic environment. At the age of eleven, he experienced the August occupation of 1968 and recalls how he and his parents distributed leaflets to Polish soldiers. At the age of fourteen he decided to become a sculptor and in 1972 he entered the Secondary Industrial School of Stonemasonry in Hořice. Then he went to Prague, where he worked as a driver and then in a stonemason’s workshop. In 1977 he started studying at the Academy of Fine Arts and he successfully graduated in 1984. This was followed by a year of compulsory military service in Slovakia, where he was given the task of creating a Hall of Traditions. After the military service, he returned to his native Jaroměř, where he founded the Club of Friends of Fine Arts. In a group of friends, he organized lectures and trips to culture. He had enough sculptural commissions and managed to avoid ideologically oriented projects. On October 28, 1988, he took part in an anti-communist demonstration in Prague. In 1989, he signed the proclamation A Few Sentences. Under the influence of the brutal suppression of the student demonstration on Prague’s Národní třída on November 17, together with friends, they organized the first demonstration in Jaroměř, he joined the then Czechoslovak Socialist Party. Subsequently, he became a member of the post-revolutionary council in Jaroměř. Shortly afterwards, he left politics and devoted himself to art, for example, he created the Monument to Fallen Horses at Střezetice or the equestrian statue of TGM in Lány.