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Czech Air Crash to be remembered through art exhibit

A 25-piece exhibit dedicated to the Czechoslovakian Air Crash in 1967 will be on display from Sept. 5 to Oct. 31 at the Arts and Culture Centre in Gander.
A 25-piece exhibit dedicated to the Czechoslovakian Air Crash in 1967 will be on display from Sept. 5 to Oct. 31 at the Arts and Culture Centre in Gander.

GANDER, NL – A tragic day that claimed the lives of 35 people is being remembered through art.

On Sept. 5, Czechoslovakian Flight 523, a Soviet IL18, en route from Gander to Havana, Cuba, went down just outside of Gander Airport. There were 69 passengers and crew on board — 34 survived.

There were 69 passengers and crew aboard Flight 523 when it crashed, 32 survived.

As a showing of remembrance, in marking the 50th anniversary of the air crash, Bruce Pashak and Janet Langdon of Pashak Langdon Affirmative Common Experience – PLACE – will be unveiling an exhibition titled “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the CSA Flight 523 Crash: Out of Darkness.” 

It’s a project they have been working on for more than a year, even taking up an artist residency in the Czech Republic to visit with survivors and the families of victims to get a better understanding of the tragedy.

“Janet is from Gander, and my grandfather is from Czechoslovakia, so when we came to Gander we learned more about the crash, naturally, we wanted to do something to commemorate it artistically,” said Pashak. “Because of our history it seemed like a natural fit.” 

The 25-piece exhibition will be made up of 3D works, physical paintings, photographs and a video. It will also include artifacts and pieces of the plane donated by family members.

Pashak stated the focus of the project goes well beyond the crash itself, with emphasis also being placed on the survivors and first responders. 

“There’s a very personal side to this show as well,” he said. “ It’s all of the things that happened around it and how it affected people.”

The exhibit opens on Sept. 5 and will run until October 31. It will then be moved to Grand Falls-Windsor for a two-month display.

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