Sráč Sam, Šičky (Seamstresses), 2008, digital video, color, sound, 5 minutes 6 seconds.

Sráč Sam

Prague City Gallery

Sráč Sam, Šičky (Seamstresses), 2008, digital video, color, sound, 5 minutes 6 seconds.

In Eastern Bloc countries, socially engaged art has long meant something different from what it means in the West. Under Communist Party rule, such art had to conform to strict guidelines: Artistic autonomy, individualism, and the exercise of the imagination were all considered dangerous. It is for this reason that, when the Soviet empire collapsed in 1989, most artists turned to art that foregrounded subjective expression. They only became aware of their social responsibility later.

The artist Sráč Sam has faced this responsibility for many years now. Far from the bustle of Prague, she runs Galerie Sam83 in the small provincial town of Česká Bříza, Czech Republic, where she shows the work of both unknown and established artists. She also writes books, runs guest studios, looks after abandoned and handicapped children in her own home, and edits the magazine PIŽMO, which aims to

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