Exhibition of The Betakova Hlavina Art Collection

In the summer of 2016, I was invited by the Slovak Embassy to present The Betakova Hlavina Art Collection. Previously in 2014, the exhibition of this Art Collection had brought a very respected response from West Quebec visitors in Luskville, and this was an occasion to present to a wider audience. To highlight the community response at the Celebration of the New Constitution Day at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, in Ottawa on September 8th, 2016, I would like to present the sincere and frank version of the honoring of the life and work of Danica Betakova Hlavina, in memoriam for her contribution to the rise of the most progressive sculptor and thinker in the last fifty years. (See: “Quebec Scenic Area Shows Famed Slovak Sculptures,” Kanadsky Slovak, October 4th, 2014, Page 8, from which I quote: “There was a display of collected works of Rasto Hlavina, one of the most fiery and advanced artist Canada has had since 1968.”)

The celebration was introduced by Ambassador Andrej Droba, followed by Assistant Deputy Minister for Europe Mrs. Alex Bugailiskis and Canadian artist Esther Bryan. After that, Rasto’s work was introduced by Mr. Jan Zvalo JUDr., followed by the words of Rasto in honor of Danica Betakova Hlavina in memoriam, as given below:

Speech Presented at the Exposition:

Your Excellencies, Honorable Guests.

  1. In recent years, by the generosity of the Editor of West Quebec newspapers Mr. Fred Ryan, I had the honor to present my personal thoughts intertwined with our community life to a wide audience of readers. And it was on this particular occasion that I wrote: “A long time ago, I decided to be an independent artist and sculptor. I possessed the ambition and the tools for it. I have learned the price of this, and it was enormous, on me and my family. By this decision, I became the outsider”. I would like to stress that it was my free choice.
  2. But I was not alone; I had a great partner in my corner, my wife, mother, and my Muse, as well as my all out sponsor: Danica Betakova Hlavina. And she would share in carrying the load with me. And she would be with me by my side, in our first entry on the international stage in The Big Apple in 1982, where we earned admiration and praise of many thousands of visitors, including renowned Florida sculptor Michael Schreck.
  3. And step by step, in the backdrop of ‘we are a small country’ or ‘a new country’, she was there with me to carry our load beyond the horizon of our possibilities; and then we climbed the highest peaks in Art – The 1st and The 2nd Rodin Grand Prize Exhibitions in Japan in 1986 and 1988. And there in Japan, we have earned two consecutive Superior Prizes as well as the admiration and the respect of scholars, visitors, and the great sculptors of the world, for the Multiple/Multilateral sculptures Melody 86 and Desire 1988; and then came Europe.
  4. It could be said that Danica became the synonym to Rasto, for without her strength and unwavering support, I would not have made it alone. A little woman from a little town, a little country, rose above limitations, and this Slovak-born Canadian woman touched the world and enriched with her presence our humanity. I could say Ad Astra per aspera - to the stars by hard way! (motto of Kansas).


These words brought a generous response from the attendees, ‘shaking the walls of the Embassy.’ The success of this exposition is documented by signed visitors in the Book of Guests (Rasto) by the many representatives of Embassies of: Croatia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Greece, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Pakistan, Estonia, Albania, US, Cameroon, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, Peru, Ireland, as well as the Embassy Connection Canada, Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum, Parliament of Canada, and Global Affairs Canada.

Thank you All!