Gander to re­mem­ber Czech Air Crash through art ex­hibit

Sept. 5 marked 50th an­niver­sary of Flight 523 that killed 35 peo­ple

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - EDITORIAL - BY ADAM RAN­DELL

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.

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.


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.

There were 69 pas­sen­gers and crew aboard Flight 523 when it crashed, 34 sur­vived.

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