No cariño, tú no eres español – Laura Moreno de Lara

En estos momentos de turbulencia en España compartimos los bellos sentimientos de Laura Moreno de Lara, publicados anteriormente en su pagina de FaceBook.

“No cariño, tú no eres español. Ser español no es llevar la bandera, ni gritar como un berraco frases de odio que espero que no sientas. Tampoco lo es ponerse una pulserita en la muñeca, ni cantar el cara al sol. El concepto de ser español es algo totalmente distinto, o al menos lo debería ser, porque a estas alturas de la historia yo ya no sé qué decirte.

Como española que soy, te voy a contar lo que para mí es ser español:

Ser español es arder cuando arde Doñana o temblar cuando tembló Lorca; es sentarte a escuchar historias de meigas en Galicia y llegar a creértelas; es ir a Valencia y no sentir rabia por leer un cartel en valenciano, sino que te agrade poder llegar a entenderlo y es presumir de que las Canarias nada tienen que envidiarle al Caribe.

Sentirse español es sufrir por no haber podido vivir la movida madrileña, enamorarte del mar al oír Mediterráneo de Serrat, es pedirle borracha a tu amiga catalana que te enseñe a bailar sardanas, querer ir a Albacete para comprobar si su feria es mejor que la de Málaga y sorprenderte al ver lo bonita que es Ceuta.

Para mí ser español es presumir de que en Andalucía tenemos playa, nieve y desierto; sentir casi mérito mío que un alicantino esté tan cerca de un Nobel, pedirle a un asturiano que me enseñe a escanciar la sidra y morirme de amor viendo las playas del País Vasco en Juego de Tronos.

También es española la cervecita de las 13.00, el orujo gallego, la siesta, el calimotxo, la paella, la tarta de Santiago, las croquetas de tu abuela y la tortilla de patatas. Lo son las ganas de mostrarle lo mejor de tu ciudad al que viene de fuera y que tú le preguntes por la suya; es hacerte amiga de un vasco y pedirle que te enseñe los números en euskera, por si pronto vuelves a por 2 ó 3 pintxos; es enorgullecerte de ser el país ejemplo a nivel mundial en trasplantes, de formar parte de la tierra de las mil culturas y de ser los del buen humor.

No hay nada más español que se te pongan los vellos de punta con una saeta o con una copla bien cantá, atardecer en las playas de Cádiz, descubrir casi sin querer calas paradisiacas en Mallorca, hacer el camino de Santiago en septiembre maldiciendo el frío o que Salamanca y Segovia te enseñen que no hay que ser grande para ser preciosa.

Así que, acho, picha, miarma, perla, tronco, tete, mi niño… eso es ser español, lo otro es política. Pero si de política quieres impregnar este concepto, también te vuelvo a decir que te equivocas: porque ser español no es desear que le partan la cara a nadie, es sufrir la situación de paro de tu vecino o el desahucio que has visto en la tele; ser español no es oprimir el SÍ o el NO de toda una comunidad autónoma, es indignarte cuando nos llaman gilipollas con cada nuevo caso de corrupción; ser un buen español es querer que en tu país no haya pobreza, ni incultura, ni enfermos atendidos en pasillos del hospital y, joder, querer quedarte aquí para trabajar y aportar todo lo que, durante tanto tiempo, precisamente aquí has aprendido.

Eso es ser español, o al menos, eso espero.”

Laura Moreno de Lara

 

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A Journal of Events

It’s not every day the door bell rings and your postman hands you an unexpected parcel through the rain. Once in a lifetime (if you’re lucky) I’m guessing, will you open the wrapping on such a find. In this case a 90 year old handwritten journal detailing a journey taken by sisters – one of whom was the extraordinary artist and anti-fascist Felicia Browne, who I got to know rather well through the Arts Council funded project Through An Artist’s Eye.

A Journal of Events – commencing January 31st 1927 is exactly that thing – and I am exactly in that place of awe and wonder. As I stroke the cover and marvel at the exquisite handwriting and animated stick drawings I’m simultaneously pinching myself.

The journal traces a trip to southern France, but the tone is set in the first pages by a quite hilarious declaration “Relating to Mutual Behaviour & Deportment” solemnly signed by Felicia and Helen.  Hungry glances further ahead confirm that it’s brimming with incident and reveals that while Felicia missed out on a visit to the Lourve in 1936 (en route to Barcelona) she was there in 1927. In 1936 she’d wandered the streets of Paris in a state of savage loneliness finding even the Lourve closed to her for Bastille celebrations. Her companion Dr Edith Bone had abandoned her for other friends and she was dizzied and alienated by Paris on this occasion.  Within weeks she would be shot dead by enemy fire near a railway bridge in Tardienta (Aragon). She was the only British woman to fight in the Spanish Civil War and the first British volunteer to die in combat. Her 1927 journey could not have been more of a contrast it seems. I’m so incredibly glad for her.

I’m somewhat busy on other projects these days, but it seemed fitting to blog about this extraordinary journal as a postscript to TAAE. There’s a whole new chapter of the story and the potential for more creative responses held in these pages.

My immense gratitude to Felicia’s nephew – the ever generous Peter Marshall – for sending it to me to read and scan before I return it. I think my first job is an email to all my TAAE collaborators with the news!

Through An Artist’s Eye at the Cañada Blanch Centre, LSE.

Thank you to Professor Paul Preston for inviting us to present our work at the LSE and for chairing the Seminar. Thanks also to Susana Grau for the photographs. felicia-browne-seminar-17-11-16-6felicia-browne-seminar-17-11-16-7felicia-browne-seminar-17-11-16-12felicia-browne-seminar-17-11-16-31

The Kingston Taster was more like a “three course meal”! #SpanishCivilWar

Photo credits: Philip King. Exhibition runs till 29th October. You can view entire gallery here.

 

Why Felicia Browne still matters: Video short featuring paintings by Sonia Boué

Exhibition runs until 29th October 2016 – venue All Saints Church (Weston Green), Chestnut Ave, Esher KT10 8JL

Project Launch at the Marx Memorial Library: Through An Artist’s Eye.

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(Photograph of Meirian Jump Library manager and archivist.)

SOME REVIEWS OF OUR CENTRAL LONDON LAUNCH LAST WEEK:

‘Through an Artist’s Eye’ is a brilliant use of visual arts and poetry to tell us more than can be read in conventional histories about the short but extraordinary life of Felicia Browne. Together, Sonia Boué and Jenny Rivarola demonstrate the power of art to fill those imaginative spaces and at the same time bring Felicia’s inspiring work and example to new audiences.”
Jim Jump, Journalist, Secretary of International Brigade Memorial Trust

“I should like to congratulate the instigators of this most inspiring evening. The film, the lecture by Professor Tom Buchanan, the works of art and the poems by Sonia Boue and Jenny Rivarola respectively did much to bring this heroic but largely unknown woman/artist to life. With the ghost of Lorca hovering in the background I had a most delightful experience. The final treat was the booklet of Sonia’s paintings and Jenny’s poems responding to the life of Felicia Browne to take home with me. I shall relish it.”
Joanna Graham

Through an Artist’s Eye: Felicia Browne and the Spanish Civil War, is a real eye-opener. Sonia Boué, visual artist and Jenny Rivarola, poet, both descendants of Spanish Republican exiles draw on their own personal experiences to bring back to life Felicia Browne, a woman ahead of her time who paid the ultimate price to stop fascism. Through a combination of paintings, poems and video, the two artists shed light on a remarkable life that for too long has been relegated to a footnote in history. This is vital work as relevant today as it was 80 years ago. I hope this is only the beginning of many more to come.
Ferran Nogueroles

 

THROUGH AN ARTIST´S EYE

The Rescue of Felicia Browne
Marx Memorial Library, Friday 30 September 2016

I had never heard of Felicia Browne, but the Instituto Cervantes´s newsletter advertised a series of events which grabbed my attention: who was this woman artist I had never heard of? why would two contemporary artists want to use her as a springboard for their own work? The mixture of the historic (the Spanish Civil War context, the International Brigades, the first foreign miliciana to die in combat just one month after the start of the war, in August 1936) and the contemporary (a collaborative visual and poetic project of two British artists both daughters of Republican exiles) was definitely the reason I went to the first event of the series, appropriately held at the Marx Memorial Library where the International Brigades Memorial Trust’s archives are based – I have not regretted it!

The historical Felicia, who turned out to be an artist of no great artistic importance per se, but whose short life (she died at 32), crisscrossed the private and public spaces, the personal and the group struggles of her time, allows and encourages a rich variety of readings. From an upper-middle class background, this Slade student evolved onto a committed Communist activist. It was extremely interesting to listen to Professor Tom Buchanan sketch of Browne’s life and the role of the archival material in Tate Britain and elsewhere which has rescued her from obscurity and is the backbone of the work produced by Sonia Boué and Jenny Rivarola.

During the evening, both artists gave a taste of their work in the form of a film and a reading of some of the poems, followed by a full Q&A session. They articulated clearly the aims and process of their collaborative project and I am now looking very much forward to reading the poems in front of the actual works which will be exhibited in Esher. I found particularly interesting how the work of Boué and Rivarola, by quoting directly from Browne, rescues and re-presents the dead woman´s life, art, and ideals (Boué makes striking use of some of her surviving charcoal drawings, placing them in an abstracted figurative landscape punctuated by objects which I am sure will be even more forceful in the flesh, whilst Rivarola lifts from Browne´s own words as found in her letters to construct a vital journey; she read some of the seven poems during the evening). In fact, the project seems like a triangular conjunction of realities, past and present, which I for one found intriguing and surprisingly resonant in our present historical moment: Felicia Browne resurfaces in the present through what appears to be a parallel artistic endeavour to her own, political and poetic, and where personal family memories are salvaged from all protagonists concerned.

Clarisa Rucabado Butler

OUR TASTER EVENT WILL BE ANOTHER CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE THIS PRESENTATION OF OUR WORK, AHEAD OF OUR EXHIBITION OPENING (see below)

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Exhibition news! From An Artist’s Eye.

Please watch this short video for all you need to know about our forthcoming events.