Cultural awards for four women

This morning the six winners of the ‘Premis Nacionals de Cultura 2019’ (National Cultural Awards) have been announced, among them four women.

It concerns publisher and literary translator French-Catalan Maria Bohigas (Victor Hugo, Albert Camus, Michel Houellebecq, Marguerite Duras), chef Carme Ruscalleda, composer and pianist Clara Peya (jazz, pop, chamber music), and art historian and ambassador of Catalan vanguard art in Catalunya Nord (Southern France) Josefina Matamoros (promotor of cultural projects in Perpignan and Cotlliure and director of the Musée d’art moderne in Céret).

Clara Peya

In this 44th edition the Consell Nacional de la Cultura i les Arts (National Council of Culture and Art) that issues the awards, has based its decisions on ‘excellence and innovation, as well as a comprehensive vision of Catalan territory and an extensive representation of generations’.

At the same time it means a recognition of popular as well as vanguard culture, focussing especially on the fundamental role of women in Catalan culture.

The presentation of the awards will take place on 4 July in the Teatre L’Artesà of El Prat de Llobregat.

Elisava and the mystery of the banner


ELISAVA ME FECIT: these three Latin words embroidered on a beautiful ancient banner, acquired by the Design Museum (Museu del Disseny) in Barcelona some hundred years ago, posed an interesting challenge for historians.

‘Elisava made me’ said the text, while as a rule Medieval artists did not sign their work. So the experts wondered who ‘wrote’ it and which other secrets did the standard hide? Here is what they discovered.

The banner was found in a box placed in the niche of the Altar of Saint Ot at the cathedral of Santa Maria d’Urgell, La Seu d’Urgell. Ot of Urgell (now the town’s patron saint) was a bishop of Urgell from a noble family whose members were counts of the region Pallars Sobirà. He presided his diocese between 1095 and 1122 and the standard could very well date from those years, also considering its material and style characteristics.

But who was Elisava? The name was rather common in the Middle Ages, so that does not give us any indication, although it was frequently used by the family of counts over a large period. Continue reading “Elisava and the mystery of the banner”

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