First published: Spring 1996
Anna Zemánková, nee Vesela, was born August 23, 1908 in Olomouc, Moravia. Although interested in drawing from a young age, she was discouraged by her father, a hairdresser, who wanted her to follow a more lucrative career. At his suggestion, she studied dentistry from 1923-26 and then worked as a dental technician until 1933.
At age 25, she married First Lieutenant Bohumir Zemanek and stopped practicing: in those days it was not socially acceptable for her to continue to work after her marriage. The young couple moved to the town of Brno, a major manufacturing center, and had four children. Although one son died at age four, two sons and one daughter are still living.
The war years, with the Nazi occupation, were difficult; by 1948, with the Communists in firm control, the Zemaneks moved to Prague. Anna spent her time caring for her family, generally ignoring the external political turmoil. Her passions were listening to classical music and reading; she preferred mysteries and, above all, the von Daniken books about aliens visiting earth.
During the 1950s, as she approached menopause, her personality changed: she began to have 'fits' and periods of severe depression. In 1960, her son Bohumil, an artist, suggested that she should try a hobby to take her mind off her troubles and refocus her energies now that her children were grown. Knowing she lacked art training, yet remembering reports of an earlier interest, he brought her pastels and paints. She ignored the latter, but began drawing, and immediately impressed him with her efforts. He encouraged her, and brought her quality materials with which to work.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #14