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Bare-Chested Man back in Šafárikovo Square

LADISLAV Bielik: Exhibition in the Park 1968-2008 opened at Šafárikovo Square in Bratislava in late May to mark the famed photographer’s birthday.Bielik was working for the Smena daily when he took his most famous photos near and at the square on August 21, 1968, during the invasion of the then Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops.

The Bielik display marks the 1968 invasion .The Bielik display marks the 1968 invasion . (Source: Jana Liptáková)

LADISLAV Bielik: Exhibition in the Park 1968-2008 opened at Šafárikovo Square in Bratislava in late May to mark the famed photographer’s birthday.Bielik was working for the Smena daily when he took his most famous photos near and at the square on August 21, 1968, during the invasion of the then Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops.

Among the photos on dispay is the iconic image Bare-Chested Man in Front of the Occupier’s Tank.

This picture of Emil Gallo, a plumber who made the emotional gesture to protest the occupation, has become a symbol not only of resistance to the invasion, but the fight against totalitarianism.

The Bare-Chested Man is always a highlight of any Bielik exhibition, both for those who experienced the occupation first hand and for younger viewers.

The photos, which are printed on a strip of cloth reveal that Bielik was an intrepid photojournalist who risked his life to get memorable images of Bratislava under siege.
The exhibition orginally planned to close on September 12, but due to high interest its organisers, who include Bielik's son Peter, hope to extend the showing.

A display of many of the same Bielik photos is currently on display in the Czech Republic. Čestmír Císař, another hero of the Czechoslovak resistance movement, helped open that exhibition at the Slovak Institute’s gallery in Prague on August 5 .

It is the first exhibition of Bielik’s legendary photos in Prague.

On August 21, musicians Pavol Hammel and Jožo Barina will perform in Šafárikovo Square to commemorate Slovak journalists who were active during the invasion.

Copies of the special issue of the Smena daily from August 22, 1968, in which Bielik’s famous images were first published, will be distributed.

On the same day, the 40th anniversary of the invasion, a permanent exhibition dedicated to Ladislav Bielik will open in Levice, his hometown. It will eventually be placed in the Tekov Museum.

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