Women selling chestnuts

Congratulations, Núria Feliu!

Today, 21 September, singer Núria Feliu is celebrating her 80th birthday. During her career of over 55 years she became widely liked not only for her performance of Catalan popular songs, boleros and music hall songs, but also for the popularization of American successes of country and jazz compositions.

Her popularity is largely due to the fact that she always sang in Catalan: ‘I wanted to prove that in Catalan you have and can sing all kinds of musical genres.’ Núria has always been very committed to Catalonia: ‘Singing was an excuse, actually. An excuse to be able to support the people and get to know my country.’

In this video she renders the Jacques Brel’s chanson El clar país (Le Plat Pays) during the concert on the occasion of her 70th birthday and a career of 50 years.

For more of her music go to her comprehensive website.

Exhibition ‘Ground and Underground’

From 11 June till 26 September Patrícia Dauder exhibits her latest project in the Palau de la Virreina (La Rambla, Barcelona) called Ground and Underground.

In June 2015 the artist buried a set of works in an empty plot of land in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. The works had been produced in the studio but were left underground for weeks. A wide range of materials were deliberately exposed to degradation caused by the climate and soil corrosion.

This process outside the studio prolonged the time needed to complete the works. All the works unearthed later evoked the atmospheric conditions that had affected them of which their deteriorated appearance bears witness.

‘Insulana’ (2021)

The exhibition brings together four projects carried out after that summer:
Groundworks – Documents (2021) records the earthworks carried out at the Hospitalet de Llobregat site;
Weather Sticks (2018) is a series of ceramic works manufactured following a process open to the intervention of climatic factors;
Sections (2021) presents on the walls an installation with numerous lithographs;
– a set that prologues the film Insulana (2021), inspired by the volcanic eruption that affected the Azores between 1957 and 1958.

The result is a compendium of the work produced in the studio and the work produced in the open—a  duality that is a recurring feature in Patrícia Dauder’s most recent work.

Source: Ajuntament de Barcelona

Sculpture Award for Stella Rahola

CO(NH2)2 by Stella Rahola (Photo: Fundació Vila Casas)

The Sculpture Award, granted by the Fundació Vila Casas, has just been awarded to Stella Rahola for her creation called CO(NH2)2. This work is composed of glass elements similar to those used for the production of chemical laboratory components, like borosilicate glass remnants, fertilizer crystals, stainless steel and 9 fluorescent tubes.

The sculpture, which is one and a half meter high and long, for 65 centimeters wide, invites questions about the production and knowledge of manual work, but also about the reuse and useful life of objects.

The second prize has gone to Anna III for her Desaparèixer cap endins (Disappearing inwards), in which she reflects upon vulnerability and loss.

Poetry set to music

Recently the website ‘Música de poetes‘ launched a Spotify playing list dedicated to Catalan female voices. Listen to the music of Judit Nedderman, Meritxell Gené, Gemma Humet, Anaïs Vila, Mirna Vilasís and other women who, all in their own style, interpret work of several Catalan poets.

Click here to listen to the playing list or first get a taste for what these artists have in store for you watching this video in which jazz singer Celeste Alías performs ‘Sovint diem’ (‘We often say’), a poem by Montserrat Abelló set to music by Celeste herself.

Typewriting as an art

View of the Cathedral of Barcelona

It may not be your cup of tea, but Montserrat Alberich‘s art undeniably is striking. Using the typewriter as a paint-brush she created a large number of realistic paintings of landscapes, monuments, rural scenes as well as portraits. Her work won admiration among a broad national, and international public and museums and libraries acquired some significant pieces.

Professional typist
When Montserrat was born in 1912, typewriters were already common in offices for some thirty years. At that time more and more women began to enter the field of typists, thus playing a major role in liberating them from the domestic role that had been assigned to them.

At the beginning of the 20C being a typist gradually became the right choice for a “good girl”, meaning women who present themselves as being chaste and having good conduct. So schools, like the Acadèmia Cots of Barcelona, had to adapt their politics and open up their curriculums for young girls.

As early as 1879 Ramon Cots had foreseen future demands of typing and secretarial courses and had grasped the opportunity. His school at the Portal de l’Àngel, 38 offered education from general culture to specialized classes, such as bookkeeping in accordance with tax laws. The advertising poster emphasizes the ‘different classrooms for separation of both sexes’, the target group being ‘selected classes’.

Contests, technique, recognition and media coverage

Washing at the ‘safareig’

Before the introduction of running water to houses, Catalan villages and towns used to have a public washing place called safareig where the local women came to do their laundry.

Generally they were sited on a spring or set over or beside a river or stream; some of them were even provided with roofs for shelter. Many of these safaretjos still exist.

Usually groups of women got together and socialized and talked while they were washing the family’s clothes and bedding. No wonder the expression fer safareig arose which means ‘to gossip’.

Above you see some washing places in the Alt and Baix Empordà:
Verges. Unidentified photographer, 1910/1925
Torroella de Montgrí. By Valentí Fargnoli Iannetta, 1911/1936
Castell de Púbol (now the Gala Dalí Castle House-Museum), La Pera. By Pablo García Cortés, 1968
Darnius. By Narcís Sans Prats, 1971

These photos are part of the Europeana Collections and are under license of Creative Commons.

Felícia Fuster, poetess and visual artist

The fact is that, like some poets as Eluard, Chard or Octavio Paz, Felícia Fuster has an existential touch which achieves its aims through research on the meaning of language“.

Francesc Parcerisas, poet and literary critic

This quote appears on the website of the Fundació Felícia Fuster, a private, non-profit organization created by the poet and artist Felicia Fuster herself. Its aims are “introducing the poetry and art of the author, awarding young artists’ projects, and spreading Catalan language abroad. The Foundation also provides scholarships for people without financial means.”

Felícia was born in 1921, so this year it is time to celebrate the ‘Any Felíca Fuster‘. That is why you will regularly read a post concerning this versatile woman.

Sant Jordi coming up!

Another two weeks and it is 23 April: Sant Jordi, and nowadays also World Book Day. So the perfect occasion to visit your local bookshop and buy or order some books and surprise your loved one (or yourself, of course) with works written by Catalan women poets and novelists.

If you do not master (sufficiently) the language, you can browse the catalogue of literary translations from Catalan into other languages on TRAC, the database of the Institut Ramon Llull, or ask your bookseller. Here are some suggestions.

In case you like to read fiction, look for

  • Caterina Albert who wrote under the penname of Victor Català (Solitud)
  • Maria Barbal (Pedra de tartera, País íntim)
  • Carme Riera (Dins el darrer blau, La meitat de l’ànima)
  • Mercè Rodoreda (La Plaça del Diamant, El carrer de les Camèlies, Jardí vora el mar, Mirall trencat)
  • Montserrat Roig (Ramona, adéu, El temps de les cireres, La veu melodiosa)

or novels by a new generation of writers:

For poetry ideas:

The tradition of Sant Jordi

‘Are you really a journalist?’
‘You bet!’
‘And … tell me something’,
he ventured to ask me, ‘how do you manage to know things before they appear in the newspapers …?’

Journalist Irene Polo in ‘La fascinació del periodisme’, L’Opinió, 4 June 1933

Irene Polo (Barcelona, 1909 – Buenos Aires, 1942)

This quote appears in Catalanes del XX, Pilar Godayol (ed.), Vic, Eumo Editorial, 2006

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