Friday, August 22, 2008

Art Inspired by Gernika

This note talks about art inspired by one of the many crimes committed by Spain against the Basque people, it comes to us via the Knaresborough Post:

The words behind Picasso's painting

Published Date: 22 August 2008
By Staff Copy

Picasso's Guernica: An Adventure in Poetry and Prose
Henshaw’s Taste Gallery

THE story of Guernica, Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece, was told by Ian Gray in a presentation, which interwove poetry, prose and pictures and dealt with the wider story, events and personalities surrounding the painting.

The atrocity which inspired Picasso was the bombing of Guernica, a small town in the Basque country in April 1937, by aeroplanes from the Italian Air Force and the German Condor Legion, killing around 1,600 people and injuring 900.

The report on the bombing by The Times journalist, George Steer shocked the world and horrified Picasso, who set about making sketches for Guernica.

Picasso had been asked to submit a painting for the Spanish Republican Pavilion at the World’s Fair in July 1937, and within a few weeks had finished the awe-inspiring, 27”x 11.5” painting. Possibly as a reaction to horrific black and white photographs and newsprint, the painting is black, white and grey.

Gray’s poetry and prose linked all elements of the painting’s history up to the present. He examined the symbolism of the images, the importance of the press reports, the painting of the picture and its impact.

The painting is still controversial in the 21st century. In 2003 a tapestry of Guernica had been covered over before a photographic session at the United Nations, when Colin Powell, then US Secretary of State, was presenting the American case for war against Iraq.

A few weeks later Iraq was invaded. This inspired a moving poem ending: “A man came to seduce the world and would not take “no” for an answer.”

It was a thought-provoking and informative evening and served to underline that unfortunately in the theatre of war and the bombing of civilians little has changed.

Sheila Loffill

The thing is, while Germany apologized for their part in the genocidal attack, the Spanish government is proud of what took place that day.

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