THE BIRTH OF LOVE:
Dusan and Voitre Marek –
Artist brothers in Czechoslovakia and post-war Australia
by Stephen Mould
Moon Arrow Press 2008
ISBN 978 0977545 5 2 (pbk)
80pp, 20 in full colour
section sewn limp cover, 280 x 200mm, 100mm flaps
Launch date: 4 December 2008
In October 1948, a ship bearing nearly 1,000 emigrants, the SS Charleton Sovereign, docked in Sydney Harbour. Among the passengers, primarily Displaced Persons from post-war Europe, were two Czech brothers: Voitre and Dusan Marek. They were both artists of Surrealist inclination who, fearing that their creative and personal freedom would be compromised by the Stalinist invasion of their homeland, had fled to find a new life.
They fled across the Czech border, helped by a cousin, a member of the Czech Resistance. They made their way to Dillenberg, in the American Zone in Germany, and spent three months in a refugee camp awaiting a resolution as to where they would be able to find a new home. Both Voitre and Dusan were land-locked Czechs, who had never seen the sea before boarding the Charleton Sovereign in Bremen. Their journey resulted in a number of seminal artworks, created by both brothers using mostly found materials, supplied by the crew of the ship.
This book traces the brothers’ lives and works of art they produced in Czechoslovakia before and during the war, on their voyage to Australia, and after settling. It speaks of their artistic obstacles and tribulations, and their individual responses to the contrast in culture they encountered in their adopted country.
Cover image: Dusan Marek. My Wife. 1952, Adelaide.
Agapitos-Wilson Collection, National Gallery of Australia
The book is available from the publisher; and Art Gallery of NSW bookshop:
Also of interest:
One of Dusan Marek’s films will be shown in Melbourne Film Festival later in 2017: