Musicians honoured in new museum of exile
Exile is a recurring theme On An Overgrown Path, in particular the fate of the Spanish Republican refugees who crossed into France in 1939 and were held at internment camps at Rivesaltes and Argelès-sur-Mer, and I also recently retraced the journey of refugee Alma Mahler across Catalonia to freedom in World War II. Now a powerful new museum has opened in the Spanish Catalonian border town of La Jonquera commemorating exile in the twentieth-century, with a particular focus on the 1939 La Retirada of Republican refugees. I recently visited the Museu Memorial de l'Exili in La Jonquera and took the accompanying photos. There have been many posts here about exiled musicians including Pau Casals and Robert Gerhard, both of who fled from Franco's Spain, and it is good to see that both musicians are remembered in the new museum. La Jonquera's Museum of Exile is a compelling example of how art can enhance collective memory. Art is so much better than words at expressing the tragedy of exile, so I leave you with the images.
* Refugee Week from 17-23 June, 2013 is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary. There is a listing of events here. In Norwich a symbolic refugee camp is being constructed outside The Forum in the city centre on 14-15 June, with different tents representing the facilities provided in a real refugee camp. Inside the tents visitors can meet people who work with refugees or who are refugees themselves; more details here.
Also on Facebook and Twitter. All photos are (c) On An Overgrown Path 2013. My trip to La Jonquera was self-funded.
But I have to say that the Museu Memorial de l'Exili is an invaluable aid to learning. We went to La Jonquera - which is not exactly the cultural capital of the world - not knowing what to expect. But the museum is totally absorbing, in fact we were in it for so long that we missed lunch! It really is an object lesson in how history can be brought to life. I just hope that the Twitter generation has the attention span to absorb all the riches contained in it.
Maybe there's just a general sense of agoraphobia amongst my generation (the Twitterers/Facebookers/compulsive Interneters generation), because it seems like museums and parks are not the sort of places we frequent.
I wish there were more concerts in smaller spaces like museums, churches, and the like where I live, as I don't really enjoy going to large concert halls very much these days.