Prague mural paints bleak reminder of Czechia's domestic violence problem

Czech-Canadian artist David Strauzz unveiled his latest work, dedicated to the ongoing fight against domestic violence, in Holešovice Tuesday.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 08.03.2023 10:05:00 (updated on 08.03.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech-Canadian artist David Strauzz unveiled a mural supporting the fight against domestic violence yesterday in Prague's Holešovice district.

The 20-meter-high work depicts a woman's face in muted colors, which upon closer examination reveal signs of violence. Messages of support ("You are not alone," "Violence does not belong in a relationship," "Hope," "Courage," "Don't be afraid to talk about it," and "Silence will not stop violence") adorn the mural. 

"I paint human stories," Strauzz told ČTK. "From a distance, the painting is more realistic, from up close you can see even small details and scars," he said. The design was not a specific woman, but an "unknown warrior" similar to unknown soldiers, Strauzz added.

The furniture company IKEA, Prague 7 district, and the NeNa coalition opposing domestic violence are partners of the project. The district provided the wall on which the work was created. Prague 7 Mayor Jan Čižínský and Prague 7 Deputy Mayor Hana Třeštíková were present at the unveiling of the work.

IKEA launched its project to support a safe home for all in autumn 2020 in response to the increasing cases of domestic violence during the Covid-19 pandemic. On the occasion of International Women's Day, a new website dedicated to improving the legal protection of victims of domestic violence was launched.

A witness to violence

Strauzz said that when IKEA approached him to be part of a project, he immediately agreed. "I have the feeling that here in the Czech Republic people often think that what is behind the closed doors of the home does not happen or that they have nothing to do with it. But that's wrong," he said in a press release.

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"I myself experienced domestic violence as a child. My father was very aggressive towards my mother, whom he beat, and also towards me and my sister. As a child, you cannot prevent such behavior, only as a teenager I was able to stand up to it in some way," he added.

Stronger laws needed

All the participants at the unveiling pointed out that the Czech legislation lacks a definition of domestic violence. The government should receive the bill to fix this and other shortcomings for consideration in June. According to the government's legislative plan, the new rules should come into force in January next year.

To make the mural on Argentinská Street, Strauzz used paints that are environmentally friendly and clean the air thanks to innovative technology.  

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, find help here.

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