I’ve retained the ability to wonder
Oldřich Hamera was born on the 3rd of March, 1944, in Úvaly near Prague. Following the February 1948 communist coup, his family was subjected to persecution, and he himself was bullied at school. He found strength in his grandparents’ resilience and in reading adventurous literature. Ever since elementary school, Oldřich was interested in natural sciences, but his grandpa wanted him to be interested in plumbing. In elementary school, Oldřich also began attending an arts club. Unfortunately, he was soon to be diagnosed with tongue-bone cancer, and had spent a long time in a hospital where he started drawing technical medical illustrations. When he recovered, the communist establishment forbade him from pursuing his studies after finishing elementary school, and so instead he trained to be a locksmith. By the end of the 1950s, he became active in the newly-emerging conservationist and landscapist movement. In the course of his military service, he had sustained two serious injuries. During the treatment of the second injury, he got to know his future wife. Soon thereafter, Oldřich began working for a large engineering company where he met the artist Vladimír Boudník, who introduced him to graphic arts and the so-called explosionalism. Through Boudník, Oldřich was introduced to the writer Bohumil Hrabal with whom he became close friends. IIn the 1970s, he worked in a printing company where he also published samizdat („self-publishing,“ or dissident, underground publishing). He was the first to publish K. H. Mácha‘s intimate diaries. Due to the nature of such activities, he was getting in ever more trouble with the secret police. At one point, a policeman threw him down the stairs, injuring him severely. After the Velvet Revolution, Oldřich worked as a graphic artist, illustrator, and restorer. Today, Oldřich lives and works in Prague. He still considers himself a successor of Czech Informalism.