Open Theme: Volume 2, Issue 2, Winter 2015
VELVET 17 – Group Exhibit
Minna Pyyhkala, Talitha Brauer, Saneesh Sukumaran, Honza Horak, Melanie Blanding, Šárka Thérová
Velvet 17 Exhibit. Curated by: Minna Pyyhkala Vemissage: 19:00 on 10 November 2010 featuring new projects by members of The Plastic People of the Universe.
This exhibition was under the patronage of Sasha Vondra, Czech Minister of Defense.
Minna Pyyhkala grew up painting the world in words for Mika, her brother, who was born blind. He would ask her to describe everything to him and she would tell him what she saw in terms of feeling and emotion, since he had nothing visual to reference. As a result, a great deal of Minna’s photography deals with emotional themes. Minna was born in Finland and moved to Massachusetts as a child. She moved to Prague shortly after the fall of communism. She has exhibited at the Kyoto Center of Art in Japan, Muu Gallery in Helsinki, and House of Photography in Slovakia amongst many others. Her work is naturally theatrical and presents passing moments or seemingly insignificant objects as profound symbols, while simultaneously maintaining an essential and striking abstract function. Like her brother, she fearlessly explores the world and does not shy away from challenging subject matter.
Talitha Brauer was born in the USA, but grew up in Ireland and attended boarding school in Germany. She received B.A. in English and art from Hillsdale College in Michigan. From this concoction of countries, she has learned to observe cultures and listen to the stories of the people around her. She enjoys photographing people and objects to tell stories that otherwise might remain untold.
Saneesh Sukumaran was born in India to the backdrop of Southwest monsoons (Edavappathi). He grew up in Kerala’s rich cultural heritage. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in engineering, he traveled for work and lived in cities like Bangalore, Cochin, Los Angeles, and Boston. He currently lives in India.
Honza Horak lives in Prague. He works in commercial banking. In the field of photography, he insists that he is an amateur. Honza interviewed and photographed young people in Prague in order to capture their perspective of the old regime and gauge how successful we are as a society in handing down a testimony to younger generations. In a sense, the opinion and attitude of today’s generation is an evaluation of contemporary Czech society.
Melanie Blanding: Born and raised on the east coast of the United States, Melanie Blanding picked up photography as a teenager and fell in love with photojournalism. Melanie earned her bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from Western Kentucky University and graduated with her Master’s degree in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester. She has worked in the USA, Europe, and Africa. Melanie is one of the founders of Women in Warzones International, a charity dedicated to telling the personal stories of women in areas of conflict in order to promote women’s human rights, prevent war crimes, and achieve victory over abuse of women living in war zones.
Šárka Thérová was born and lives in Prague. She grew up in a small town close to Prague. The eras of the seventies and eighties have left many memories and feelings common to her generation. In her photos she tries to catch moments of a grey everydayness through the eye of a person who was consumed by and marched with the times. Šárka graduated from the faculty of teaching at Charles University and worked as a teacher for a brief period. To improve her English she left Prague and spent two years in the UK working as an au-pair. During the past few years Šárka has been working in commercial real estate. She enjoys traveling and her favorite destinations are in south east Asia.