Cultural calendar

In the exhibition ‘Women, the Usual Suspects’ Sandra Olivé shows a naive and original portrait of women who share a history, a life and a journey.

In Barcelona, Cotxeres-Casinet, Carrer de Sants, 79. Till 29/02.

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Photo exhibition of the collective ‘Dones de l’Entitat’ with images of the working woman. The artists are, among others, Isabel Acerete, Rosa Mª Andrés, Núria Bueno and Mª Antònia Campins.

In Terrassa, Sala Salvador Alavedra, C/ Teatre, 2. Till 5 March.

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Singer Sabine Witt celebrates International Women’s Day performing her program ‘The Chrysalides’ honouring silenced and invisible women throughout history.

In Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Ateneu Santfeliuenc, Vidal i Ribas 23-25. On 6 March. For tickets and more information, click here.

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Berta Garcia’s (aka Berta Lacht) Project Tits aims to breakdown the ideals of beauty and show different bodies, standard or nonstandard. Photos of the bodies of the 60 women who took part in the project, make visible their diversity and complexity.

In Barcelona, Centre Cívic Pati Llimona, C/ Regomir 3. Till 23 March.

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Rapper Joina and her band perform Companyes offering her songs about the empowerment of women who speak out against sexual harassment and violence. Her melodies echo elements of jazz, flamenco, pop and classical music.

In Barcelona on 22 February, 6 – 13 – 20 – 27 March. For the venues and ticket information click here.

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Carmen Valverde presents ‘Expressions’, a collection of 18 large figurative paintings of oil and acrylic on wood (180×122 cm) showing the faces of women of Terrassa who express all kinds of emotions. This project is based on photos taken by Jaume Olivet.

In Tarragona, Tinglado 1, Moll de Costa. Till 19 April.

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In the name of the mother, in the name of the earth: an exhibition showing seven projects that celebrate the culture of life, the capacity of art to create symbolism to guide us in these confused times. Featuring works of Isabel Banal, Raquel Friera, Lucía Loren, Olga Olivera Tabeni, Irene Pérez, Carme Sanglas and Eulàlia Valldosera.

Featured post

Joina's video 'The World is Theirs'

Rapper Joina who is giving a series of concerts in Barcelona (consult the Cultural calendar) can be seen and heard in this video El món és seu (The World is Theirs). In this song she claims the street and denounces sexual harassment.

Mari Pepa Colomer, pilot

A girl, just seven years old, has but one dream: to fly! As she is living on the second floor, she concludes that she can easily fulfill this dream. So she takes an umbrella and jumps from the balcony with the open umbrella by way of a parachute. Of course, this cannot end well, as she is no Mary Poppins. Instead of taking off, she crashes and breaks both legs. Nine years later she has a second try, now with a better result. This is the story of Maria Josep Colomer i Luque, better known as Mari Pepa Colomer (1913-2004).

The young Mari Pepa
As a young girl she already has a very strong bond with her father Josep, a liberal and bohemian textile industrialist, who is a personal friend of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, among others, and linked to the famous café Els Quatre Gats in Barcelona. He sees to it that she can study at the ‘Institut de Cultura i Biblioteca Popular de la Dona‘, a modern and innovative institute in Catalonia’s capital founded in 1909 by Francesca Bonnemaison aiming to give working class women the opportunity of enjoying a good training and learning a trade, so that they could earn their own living.

and then…

To pilot a plane is like riding a bicycle. Once you have learnt it, you will never forget it.

Mari Pepa Colomer (1913-2004), Catalonia’s first woman pilot.

'My homeless love' (for Valentine's Day)

The shadow of my homeless love.

The bullet that pierces the shadow of my homeless love.

The leaves that cover the bullet that pierces the shadow of my homeless love.

The wind that snatches the leaves that cover the bullet that pierces the shadow of my homeless love.

My eyes that root in the wind that snatches the leaves that cover the bullet that pierces the shadow of my homeless love.

My love that is reflected in the eyes that root in the wind that snatches the leaves that cover the bullet that pierces the shadow of my homeless love.

Maria-Mercè Marçal

Painter Mireia Mateo on Instagram

The way artists get into contact with their public is changing. There are a lot of painters of your generation and even younger who use Instagram as a platform. How do you live this transformation?

Like torture. I would like to spend the whole day in my studio without having to explain myself, without doing anything that is strange to my small world, but we live in the now and we just have to be part of this absurdity. One sees oneself obliged to enter in these networks and I feel very reluctant to do so.

Source: Ada Castells interviews Mireia Mateo in the digital cultural magazine Catorze. For more information about the painter, click here.

6-universo-poetico-2018-carbon-lapiz-sanguina-y-papel-sobre-papel-japon-72-x-130-cm-1024x588
Poetic Universe (charcoal, pencil, sanguine, Japanese paper)

Witches!

Early witches were people who practiced witchcraft, using magic spells and calling upon spirits for help or to bring about change. Most witches were thought to be pagans doing the Devil’s work. Many, however, were simply natural healers or so-called “wise women” whose choice of profession was misunderstood.

Witch-hunts in Catalonia
In Europe during the mid-1400s many accused witches confessed, often under torture, to a variety of wicked behaviors. Within a century, witch-hunts were common and most of the accused were executed by burning at the stake or hanging. Single women, widows and other women on the margins of society were especially targeted.

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In Medieval Catalonia the witch-hunt mainly consisted of measures taken by the Inquisition against women who were suspected of witchcraft. From the 17th century onwards, when people began to consider witchcraft a serious danger that threatened society, a collective hysteria got a grip on society.

The first records of trials against witches in Catalonia date from the 14th century. In that period the sentences turned out to be quite light: reprimands, fasting and pilgrimages to Montserrat. The trials continued throughout the following centuries. In the 15th century the first important trial took place in Amer which convinced the population that witches did really exist; their persecution was at its height two centuries later, when tortures and executions frequently ocurred. In this period an estimated 400 women were executed, the last was probably in the latter half of the 18th century.

Stories and traditions
The general fear of witches gave rise to a whole series of stories related specifically to All Saints Day (November 1). On this day witches were said to break the crosses from any graves they pass, destroying all proof of the existence of the buried dead.

Another tradition has it that one could destroy a witch by going to her house on November 1, and marking a star on the gate. One would then go to a mass dedicated to Saint Martin. When the witch got home, the star would have burned, and the witch would be slowly consumed, her own witchcraft turning against her.

Throughout Catalonia you can find events on this day referring to witches, witchcraft and their persecution. Here are two examples.

Ball de Bruixes (Witches’ Dance)

On 2 November 1617 Viladrau (Osona), the Catalan town where the highest number of witches was tried, was the scene of a huge meeting of witches who had arrived at Sant Segimon (Saint Sigismund) from the farthest corners of the region. According to the inhabitants at that time, this aquelarre originated violent storms and blizzards that punished the area with big floods.

Every year on the night of 31 October, just at the beginning of All Saints Day, the Witches’ Dance is celebrated, a dramatization based on one of the most tragic episods in Viladrau’s history. The performance that includes music, dance, a light show and fire, is staged in the streets and represents the gathering of the 14 women who come together for the last time before being sentenced to death and executed.cap_base_home_witchIf you are not able to be in Valadrau at this specific moment, go and visit the Espai Montseny where you can delve into the story of these witches. The upper floor features several simultaneous and spectacular projected images and re-enacts the witches’ sabbath and where you can experience the violent storm unchained by them, just like people said.

XX Fira de les Bruixes (Witch Fair)
During the 16th and 17th century the village of Sant Feliu Sasserra (Bages) witnessed a series of curious events that people related with witchcraft. Many women were accused unfairly and died on the gallows. A total of 23 women were tried and at least 6 of them were executed.

The town wants to commemorate these facts and denounce the injusticies. So the fair of All Saints Day has been converted into a Fira de les Bruixes (Witch Fair), dedicated to the women accused of withcraft. Among other activities, various pageants march through the streets, the trial is staged and you can be a witch apprentice and learn to become a witch yourself. The next video gives an impression of this day.

For the program go to this website dedicated to this Fair.

Sources, among other websites and books: History and Wikipedia in Catalan and English.

Poem of the Month: January

A poem by Marta Pessarrodona:

Anna Gorenko

Ever since, without your latent,
we have all been, more or less,
half nun and half harlot,
half cloistered, half streetwalker.

We haven’t had your sense of shame:
we lack the cleverness
of the secret surname,
the talent of a loud-sounding mask.

My poet didn’t value
white peacocks,
religious music,
or crumpled maps.

Like yours, however,
screaming children annoyed him,
and he didn’t crave after tea and jam
or hysterical ladies.

Our time, for sure,
has not been as pathetic as yours.
This is why, perhaps,
we must pay homage to you;

even more for your poems,
of such golden pins;
for your wisdom,
not even betrayals could conceal.

Also because they have sung more lines
to you than you ever wrote yourself;
so jealous, they wanted to immortalize you
with pencils, brushes and cameras;

and because you will always be
so far away and yet so close
to our victories,
to our downfalls.

Ever since, without your talent,
we have all felt like you,
half nun, half harlot,
so many days, on so many repeated occasions.

Translation by Sam D. Abrams.
For the original text in Catalan and more poems of Marta Pessarrodona, visit Lyrikline. In case you want to read about the Russian poet Anna Gorenko (pen name Anna Akhmatova), look here.

One always shape the world according to one’s wishes.

Teresa Pàmies (1919 – 2012)
From: Va ploure tot el dia (1974), a memoir written as a novel about the return of a  women to Catalonia, the author herself, after thirty years of political exile.

Teresa Pàmies: celebrating a centenary

One hundred years ago on 8 October 1919 author, journalist and political activist Teresa Pàmies was born in Balaguer (Lleida). Her work, consisting of novels, diary prose, narrative and article, is an alive witness of the Spanish Civil War and exile and has an autobiographical background.

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Apart from her literary work, Teresa collaborated in radio and press as well as in scientific and cultural magazines; she was also active in politics. For example, she joined the Unified Socialist Youth of Catalonia (1937), of which she would become the leader.

At the end of the Civil War that meant the Republican’s defeat two years later she marched into exile with her father, only to return in 1971 thanks to a visa to receive the Josep Pla Award for Testament in Prague (Testament a Praga).

This book contains a transcription of autobiographical memoires of her father Tomàs Pàmies, a Marxist politicial leader, alternated with messages and texts in which she is reflecting on communism, especially related to the Prague Spring (1968).

The English translation by Melissa Stewart titled Testament in Prague was published in 2005 by University Press of the South, New Orleans.

For more information on Teresa Pàmies, click here.

Vote now: Tribade!

Congratulations are in order for Tribade who have been nominated for the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards 2020, the ‘annual EU prize for popular and contemporary music celebrates emerging artists who represent the European sound of today and tomorrow.’

The nomination announces Tribade as ‘a young female rap act from Barcelona, lead by MCs Bittah, Masiva Lulla and Sombra Alor. The group is devoted to original rap culture and its mission of denunciation and empowerment through rhythm and poetry. Lyrically, Tribade brings the XXIst century universe of three young women fighting against precariousness in a male dominated society and amplifies through its poetry repressed realities such as LGBT, as well as local and neighbourhood struggles, and antifa activism. Musically, Barcelona is not only 90s mestizo, rumba and fiesta beats: Tribade blends a fresh and original mix of rap with flamenco, soul, Afrotrap and reggaeton.’

Each artist can win two prizes. First an international jury will select eight winners, each winner will receive a prize worth € 10.000,- to be spent towards promoting their international careers. But music fans across Europe can also vote for their favourite artist; the winner of the Public Choice Award will receive a prize of €5.000,-.

It is worthwhile to take part and vote, because you are competing for a trip including a stay and a festival entrance to Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) in January 2020 in the Netherlands. So do not hesitate and go to the artist profile of Tribade and cast your vote for their music and its powerful message!

Three female directors at prestigious British film festival

The BFI London Film Festival is one of the most prestigious festivals of the United Kingdom which runs its 63th edition from 2 till 13 October 2019. Each year some directors are invited to be present at the screening of their film and introduce it to the general public as well as professionals. This time six Catalan films have been included in the program, three of which boast a female director.

In the section ‘Travel’ the public can watch La hija de un ladrón (A Thief’s Daughter) by Belén Funes described as ‘an emotionally powerful drama from debut filmmaker Belén Funes, [that] charts the trials and tribulations of a single mother with a singular sense of purpose.’ The mother is interpreted by Greta Fernàndez (who won the award of best actress at the San Sebastian Film Festival) and her volatile father by her real life father Eduard Fernàndez.

El viatge de la Marta (Staff Only), the second film made by Neus Ballús is shown in the ‘Debate’ section. The Imdb plot summary says: ‘A 17-year-old girl spends the Christmas holidays in Senegal with her brother and father. Tired of planned trips and the ceremonious actions of the hotel employees, as well as her father’s behavior, she opens the door to the staff area and discovers a world that, although previously undiscovered, allows her to develop close and complex relationships.’ Ballús’ debut film La plaga  was widely acclaimed and won more than 20 awards in international film festivals.

The short film Suc de síndria (Watermelon Juice), directed by Irene Moray, who will be at the festival, is screened in the section ‘Love’. It explores the current topic of intimacy and consensual physicality, ‘holding up a magnifying glass to every intimate moment from a misplaced hand to the power dynamics of a sexual situation to the re-contextualisation of a past narrative.’ Irene’s interrogation of this theme has had a lot of repercussion on various festivals and competitions.

So if you might be around during the festival, go and see these films by all means. If not, try and watch them at another moment and another place.

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