Saturday, 25 February 2012

# 72 [2 November 2010]

I've been curating an exhibition called 'Rivesaltes: Landscape of Trauma' which is showing locally before it tours. It is a show including the work of artists with whom I have collaborated - sound: Lois Laplace, Blaise Merino; sculpture: Deev Vanorbeek; photographs: Peter Watkins, Chris Webb. My paintings, videos and audio works are also on display. Many of the collaborations are documented in this blog.

Some texts accompany the art: an introduction by me, the interview with Norbert Herz (intern at the camp in 1942), a quote from 'The Journal of Rivesaltes' (1942) by Friedel Bohny Reital, time-line and statements by some of the artists - just enough to give the work a context.

The show has been received well with sympathetic reviews in the local press.

I did a Google search for it and discovered that it is advertised on a site called 'Harkis and the Rights of Man' - which was a nice surprise. The Harkis (Algerians who fought against their countrymen for France during the civil war and thus not able to return to Algeria) were held / housed at the camp during the 70s.

I have been invited to take the show to Toulouse to be part of the CineEspagne film festival next year.

So, it is generating some interest. The director of the Rivesaltes memorial organisation in Perpignan is planning to visit, I'm hoping she will adopt the exhibition and help me organise the tour.

I'm looking forward to reading the comments made by the visitors - there may even be locals who have particular associations with the camp.

In my introduction to the show I wrote:

'Some people might say "Whatever happened half a century ago during the occupation is in the past." But now I see that my work is surprisingly relevant because the French Government is repeating history, seeing that we have arrived at the point where the Roma must be rounded up in accommodation centres or sent back from France to Romania.'

I'm hoping it will touch those who visit.

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