Art for Guernsey believes that art has the power to bring communities and nations together, and one of its key goals is to promote the island in a positive way. At the heart of this is Cultural Diplomacy, a soft power that includes the exchange of cultural ideas in order to foster mutual understanding. Chamber strongly promotes creativity and lateral thinking and has been a strong supporter over the years of Art for Guernsey’s efforts to positively enhance Guernsey’s country brand through culture.
Since July 2019, Art for Guernsey and the Chamber of Commerce have been building a relationship with His Excellency Mr Libor Secka, the Czech Ambassador – a journey which will culminate in an exhibition of artworks by Czech artists on Guernsey soil. Art for Guernsey is also honouring the legacy of soldier Jaroslav ‘Yardeskie’ Novak – who was killed in action whilst defending the island – by commissioning Guernsey artist Sally Ede-Golightly to create an artwork, partly inspired by great Czech artists Emil Filla and Frantisek Kupka.
A focal point of this cultural diplomacy and external relations initiative unfolded at the beginning of July 2021, when the Chamber of Commerce and Art for Guernsey hosted the Czech Ambassador and his wife. This event was a private viewing of the painting of Jaroslav ‘Yardeskie’ Novak by Sally Ede-Golightly, and was part of series of cultural events.
David Ummels said: ‘When Libor and I first met at Chamber in July 2019, we felt immediately aligned about the role that culture has to play in bringing nations and communities together, and we quickly resolved to undertake an artistic project together, celebrating the friendship and the historical connections between the Czech Republic and Guernsey. This offered a superb platform for local artist Sally Ede-Golightly to showcase her talent and have her art displayed in a major international museum. It also created an opportunity to build invaluable relationships with many key curators, artists and museum directors in the Czech Republic that, I am sure, will bear strong artistic fruits in the future for Guernsey’s cultural offering. This project is a way to tell the Czech people, “We are your friends, we understand your culture, thank you for your friendship and we are sorry for your loss.” The Czech Republic is a country that is very strong in culture and art. They understand that art can be a formidable catalyst to achieve quantifiable and measurable goals, and to strongly support a business development strategy. This is how they promote their country and they are a kind, intelligent and inspiring force that we should aim to emulate to positively develop Guernsey’s country brand.’
The painting is currently on public display in the Chamber Headquarters in the Inner Market Street.