It was 5 October 2012. On the day of the anniversary of the birthday of the former president of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, the name of the airport in Prague Ruzyně was changed to Václav Havel Airport Prague. It happened after the act was approved by the Government of the Czech Republic in March of the same year.
It has already been 10 years since the Prague international airport started carrying the new name. As part of this year's jubilee, working together with the Václav Havel Library and the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97, Prague Airport, the operator of the international air hub, has prepared several permanent and temporary reminders of the personality of Václav Havel, which passengers and visitors can view while passing through the airport.
This art object was created on the occasion of the renaming of the airport to VÁCLAV HAVEL AIRPORT PRAGUE. Its purpose is a permanent reminder of the legacy and work of the first president of the Czech Republic, Mr. Václav Havel.
The installation, which was ceremonially unveiled on 5 October 2012, was created for Prague Airport by artist and architect Bořek Šípek, whose ties with Václav Havel were life-long and personal. The quotes from Václav Havel's literary works, placed inside the installation, were selected by the Václav Havel Library.
The elliptical space of Forum Havlum is reminiscent of Václav Havel's greatest love – theatre. The three-dimensional object spreads across the ground floor and the first floor of the departure hall. The space, which represents a small theatre stage, can be entered in style through balconies and boxes, from which it is possible to watch texts and quotes from the works of Václav Havel in Czech and English, alongside footage from his life. Visitors can also enjoy the unique feeling of standing in the middle of the stage in the role of a spectator/actor, with the mentioned texts and quotes affecting them instead of the audience.
Through Forum Havlum, Bořek Šípek provides insight into the life and work of the first president of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic. The installation presents him primarily as a playwright but does not exclude his personal life and political activity either. It is left up to everyone to form their own opinion on the life and work of Václav Havel based on the installation.
The Forum Havlum installation is located in the Terminal 2 Departure Hall.
Author of Texts: Václav Havel
Translations: Carol Rocamora and Tomáš Rychetský, Tom Stoppard, Paul Wilson
Permission to use the quotes was granted by Mrs. Dagmar Havlová.
- Connecting Corridor of Terminals 1 and 2
- Terminal 1 Relaxation Zone
- Terminal 2 Relaxation Zone
The Flying Man Tapestry is based on an illustration by artist Peter Sís. It was created in honour of Václav Havel, the first post-revolution President of Czechoslovakia and later the first President of the Czech Republic, whose name this airport carries. The original large-format tapestry was woven by masters of their craft in Aubusson, France, and has an impressive size of 5 x 4.25 meters.
The idea of creating the tapestry came from Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey through Amnesty International Czech Republic, and was funded by world-renowned artists Yoko Ono Lennon, Petr Gabriel, Sting, and Bono and The Edge from U2. The tapestry was donated to the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97 and with its permission displayed at the airport.
Five leading representatives of the world music scene – Bono and The Edge from U2, Peter Gabriel, Sting, and Yoko Ono Lennon, who are long-term supporters of Amnesty International and who admired Václav Havel, donated the cost of making the tapestry in the amount of 1.5 million crowns. With this tapestry, they wanted to honour Václav Havel and thank the Czech government for the timeless decision to rename the Ruzyně Airport to Václav Havel Airport Prague.
Quotes by the renowned artists on the Tapestry and more:
Bill Shipsey, the project initiator and Art for Amnesty founder, noted: “The exceptional Peter Sís has designed the Tapestry as a permanent reminder of the important role Václav Havel played in the restoration, promotion, and protection of human rights in Europe and around the world.”
“Václav Havel was an inspiration for our band, as well as for politicians, poets, and everyone else. We are happy we were able to call him a friend. The Sís Tapestry is certainly another reason to visit such a beautiful city as Prague,” The Edge from U2 said.
“Few authors can prove their written word with their actions. The price for public service is always high. It scares me when an artist deliberately ignores their own literary voice to serve other voices. It can turn democracy into disharmony. But, thanks to his unique hearing, Václav was able to find a pure melody in all that noise and thus inspire a huge number of different people. His influence is visible all around us, and his work now finds an important and lasting legacy in a Tapestry designed by Václav’s compatriot Peter Sís and placed in his hometown,” U2 frontman Bono emphasised.
Yoko Ono Lennon said on the occasion: “It is my great honour to be associated with this beautiful Tapestry dedicated to the great artist Václav Havel. I am particularly pleased that it will be displayed in the city, where the Wall dedicated to John is located. They both – Václav and John – passionately believed in freedom. The Tapestry and the Wall will always be recognised as symbols of freedom.”
“The tireless efforts of Václav Havel brought us closer to a world which supports freedom and human rights for all. That is why we miss Václav so much,” Sting commented on Václav Havel’s legacy.
The Tapestry is located in the Terminal 2 transit part, above the area leading to Pier C.
December 2011 – Fero Fenič, film director, screenwriter, and producer, shortly after the death of the former president of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, suggested renaming the international airport in Prague Ruzyně after this important statesman, just as was the custom at other world airports (JFK, Charles de Gaulle, M.R. Štefánik, etc.). The petition was signed by over 80,000 people.
March 2012 - At its meeting on 21 March 2012, the Government of the Czech Republic approved the use of Václav Havel's name in connection with the international airport in Prague Ruzyně. Dagmar Havlová agreed to the use of her husband's name in this context.
May 2012 – After consultations with language experts, the official name was published, where, with regard to the airport's international clientele, it was decided that VÁCLAV HAVEL AIRPORT PRAGUE would be used primarily, with the Czech version being LETIŠTĚ VÁCLAVA HAVLA PRAHA.
September 2012 – From 17 to 27 September 2012, signs with the new airport name in the English version were installed on the airport terminal buildings.
October 2012 – On 5 October 2012, the airport was officially renamed.
December 2012 - On 9 December 2012, an original large-format tapestry designed by Czech artist Petr Sís and woven woven by masters of their craft in Aubusson, France, was unveiled at Václav Havel Airport Prague.
Photos provided by Václav Havel Library