Vietnamese stories retold through the lens of Czech photographer
PLZEŇ The daily life of Vietnamese families in the Czech Republic is featured at an exhibition in Plzeň City that is located nearly 80km from Prague.
Vietnam Stories, the name of the exhibition, showcases 50 photos by Czech photographer and teacher Jindřich Štreit, who is considered one of the most important exponents of Czech documentary photography.
It is jointly organised by the City Council in collaboration with the Vietnamese association in Plzeň.
Vietnam Stories also features traditional Vietnamese customs and habits that are still preserved and practised in the Czech Republic, such as national holidays, birthdays, weddings and death anniversaries.
Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Štreit said that he had researched and integrated into the Vietnamese community to capture the most authentic angles of their life for the photo collection.
“I personally have a very good relationship with the Vietnamese community in North Morava and they themselves, especially young people, have enthusiastically helped me to make this meaningful series of photos,” the 75-year-old photographer said.
According to Eliška Bartakova, Deputy Mayor of Plzeň City, the Vietnamese community has been in the Czech Republic for three generations and is integrating very well into Czech society.
“Vietnamese people obey the law, study hard, run businesses and make many positive contributions to society. It is perfectly fine and normal for two peoples of the Czech Republic and Viet Nam to harmoniously live and develop together in the country.”
Dr Nguyễn Duy Nhien, Chairman of the Vietnamese Association in the Czech Republic, said the association greatly appreciates the photos capturing the life of the Vietnamese community by photographer Štreit.
He added that Vietnam Stories would help to enhance the friendship and relations between the two nations.
A visitor to the exhibition and photography enthusiast, Vojtěch Štajek, recalled that the number of Vietnamese people coming to the Czech Republic has increased significantly since the 1990s.
There used to be many differences in lifestyle and perception between the Czech and Vietnamese communities. At first, Czech people were amazed at the Vietnamese unyielding struggle and hard-working manner, he said.
“However, over time, it was that strong will of the Vietnamese people and their positive contributions to society that have convinced the Czech people, so today the Vietnamese community has truly integrated and lives in harmony with all other ethnic groups in the Czech Republic.
“We really consider the Vietnamese as our people. The photos displayed at this exhibition have accurately reflected their life that I witness every day,” he added.
According to Nguyễn Hoai Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnamese Association in Plzeň, the community of over 6,000 Vietnamese living in this city wholeheartedly supports the exhibition, expecting that Vietnam Stories will help Czech people better understand the customs and habits of Vietnamese people.
Vietnam Stories will last until August 27.
Jindřich Štreit, born September 5, 1946 in Vsetín, is a Czech photographer and teacher known for his documentary photography. He concentrates on documenting the rural life and people of Czech villages.
The photographer began taking photographs in 1964, during his studies at the Pedagogical Faculty of Palacký University in Olomouc. VNS
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