In celebration of the 100th year of Czech Comics, famed works of notable Czech artists and writers of both mainstream and alternative comics from the last century is in exhibit at the NCCA Gallery in Intramuros, Manila. The show entitled Meanwhile, Elsewhere is a grand cultural collaboration between the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Meanwhile Elsewhere-web

The exhibition forms part of the commemorations of the major anniversaries of 2018 – the centenary foundation of Czechoslovakia (1918), seventy years from the establishment of the infamous communist regime (1948) and twenty-five years of the creation of the Czech Republic (1993).

The Meanwhile, Elsewhere exhibition not only shows the themes and authors in all their respective historical periods until today, but also recaps a tumultuous national history through comics that aptly reflects the historical, political and cultural changes of the Czech Republic.

Ferda the Ant-web
Ondřej Sekora’s Ferda and the Ant

Samples of different illustrations are showcased to depict the history and evolution of Czech Comics and how they were affected by the times.  Popular works like Kája Saudek’s superheroes, Jaroslav Foglar’s five-generation classic Rapid Arrows, as well as pre-World War II artist Ondřej Sekora’s early comics precursor Ferda the Ant are also seen. 

Aargh 3 cover-web-meanwhile elsewhere
Illustration: Aargh 3 cover by Vladimir 518/ 2002

Furthermore, a selection of contemporary avant-garde comics of sorts such as Jaromír Rudiš’s Alois Nebel (in-illustration) and Jaromír 99 will encapsulate all young comic-enthusiasts. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the exhibition as it contains numerous original comic books and magazines.

The fate of Czech comics reflects not only the periods of high creative freedom but also the times of stagnation and control, as there was a political ban during the Communist rule in Czechoslovakia that was only lifted when democracy was restored in 1989 and the boom of comics recommenced.

In attendance on its opening night is Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Mr. Jaroslav Olša, Jr. an avid comic fan and collector himself, and Moravian Museum art collections curator in Brno Mr. Tomáš Prokůpek, the Meanwhile, Elsewhere exhibit curator.