GRAVITATION - Musée Régional d'Art Contemporain

In my ongoing project I am continuing my work on the collective memory and migration.
I noticed that in Toulouse there is an unusual amount of people of Spanish origin due to a great number of Spanish refugees who settled here during the dictatorship of Franco. By speaking with people I met here, who have Spanish grandparents and by researching images from old press releases I came across images showing people marching over the Pyrenees during “La Retirada”. Migration is a topic that touches me, because I see a great parallel with our times. A photograph of people crossing the Pyrenees in deep snow looks very much like photographs from recent newspaper publications, showing groups of migrants walking over Austrian mountains. I have singled out individuals from the press pictures showing the groups crossing the Pyrenees. I decided to focus on them individually – for the moment – to better study their emotions and expression of the portrayed.
I am interested in this topic because I think that a lot of determination and courage is needed to take a decision as marking as fleeing your own country, crossing mountains and overcoming all kind of difficulties inherent in settling down in a new country. Since this wave of migration is not a recent (or contemporary) one, it lends it – in my opinion – more power, because it shows how well the Spanish migrants were integrated into the French society.
I would like to develop this research further, stressing the fact, that migration is a human and global phenomenon that is very deeply rooted in our sense for survival.
In my works ultimately I want to contrast the paradoxical set of emotions inherent in the process of migration: there is courage, positivisms and hope and also loss, pain, and fear.
In my project I want to question concepts like the ‘frontier’, cultural identity, cultural heritage and national identity.

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