Czech Artist Opens Embassy in Taiwan As Art Project

Jestrab describes his project as “an effort to awaken the democratic world to united action”. Credit: Pavel Jestrab.

Prague, Oct 9 (CTK) – Czech artist Pavel Jestrab has opened a Czech embassy in Taiwan, as an artistic glimpse into “a future where good prevailed”, he told CTK. He did not specify the exact location or those who collaborated with him for security reasons.

He described his project as a wish, a hope and an effort to awaken the democratic world to united action.

“The worst nightmare of all dictators is a free, prosperous country in sight, since the inhabitants of an undemocratic state may one day begin to wonder why those next door are better off,” said Jestrab in a video presenting his project. “The truth is plain and simple. But beneath the sediment of strategies, tricks, calculations and fears, it is being diluted into absurd scenarios in the name of maintaining positions, power and economic interests.” 

Taiwan is an independent state, but China sees it as a rebel province that has no right to international representation. The Czech Republic, like many other states, maintains trade and diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but recognises the one-China policy.

“The simplest things should be said out loud, together and with one voice. Taiwan is an independent, democratic country where people want to make their own decisions and live freely. That’s how simple it is. And everyone knows it,” Jestrab said.

Jestrab’s work has been focused on Taiwan since 2014. Credit: Pavel Jestrab.

“I consulted Olga Lomova from the Institute of Sinology at Charles University on the project,” he added. “If I were to disclose the specific location and the names of the participating Taiwanese people, they would face real restrictions from China. So the location of the embassy will never be revealed, I carried out everything myself and the result is an artwork in the form of a video and photographs. From this perspective, the embassy is still open, forever, and its mission is still alive.”

This is the latest project Jestrab has created in Taiwan. He made his first one in 2014 as a student at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (UMPRUM), when he chose Taiwan for his internship. He has been returning there ever since.

“Internally, I simply felt that I belonged there and also that there was something to fight for,” he said. As a student in Taiwan, he took part in a student protest involving the occupation of the parliament building in Taipei in response to the government’s plans for a trade deal with China.

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