Shared memories: children exhibition

From: Monday, 10 March 2008

To: Sunday, 01 February 2009

Place: Anteroom

Shared memories forms part of the children's exhibition programme that ARTIUM been organising since 2006. As on previous occasions, the exhibition occupies the anteroom and consists number of works selected from the Museum's own collection to illustrate a theme aimed specifically at children.

Shared memories forms part of the children's exhibition programme that ARTIUM been organising since 2006. As on previous occasions, the exhibition occupies the anteroom and consists number of works selected from the Museum's own collection to illustrate a theme aimed specifically at children. Nevertheless, the objectives and the process followed in the preparation of this exhibition, its results and, without doubt, the response it will receive from the public, give this project a very special and unique significance.

This exhibition, which has been prepared in collaboration with the Fundación Mejora, aims to allow our elders to share their experiences. It might be said that it represents a homage to their lives and also to the oral tradition, to those stories that have been passed down from generation to generation and that are still alive in our memories. They are authentic biographies that rescue from oblivion the everyday lives of people who lived during a specific period in our history; recollections of the past that will help the children (and members of their families) who visit the exhibition to understand and to learn about history in a more personal, direct and different manner, but also in a way that is as valid and illustrative as the teaching methods used in textbooks.

Unlike other children's exhibitions, the voices of our elders are the true protagonists and the works of art become the scenario and the context of these memories. In some ways, the stories that can be seen and heard via the monitors distributed throughout the gallery converse with the artworks, chosen precisely in order to strike up this relationship and to ensure their mutual enrichment. The melancholic and desolate Calle de Tomelloso, painted by Antonio López, might serve as a backdrop for some of the biographies recounted in the interviews. The little girl portrayed by Benjamín Palencia in 1948 might have shared similar experiences with them. Without doubt, the timeless doves depicted by Jose Caballero in 1935 form part of the daily landscape of some of the figures in our exhibition. El autorretrato en el tiempo by Esther Ferrer makes us think about the passing of time and the ephemeral nature of all our lives, about getting old, about our unavoidable destiny: death.

To develop this project, interviews with twelve people were conducted last summer. They were chosen at random but special attention was given to their age - the youngest was 82 years old and the eldest, 101. It was stipulated that they should be from both urban and rural environments and from a range of different socio-cultural backgrounds. Each one was interviewed on camera. They were asked to delve into memories of their childhood and adolescence and to tackle a wide range of subjects including the Civil War, food, games, dancing and religion These interviews have given rise to an intense and emotional videographic document – Playing truquemé (a kind of hopscotch) - of great social, historical and especially human interest. The monitors placed in the gallery evoke bitter memories such as those of a survivor of the bombardment of Guernika, the use of rationing cards and of religious repression. The drama of those times contrasts with the spontaneity and freshness of stories about dances, popular fiestas and children's games.

As the title indicates, Shared memories is about sharing individual and collective memories, about making these coexist with and enrich art, about learning to be sensitive and listening to human experiences, both past and present, and especially about promoting a respect for our elders, an unavoidable destiny that we will all face sooner or later.

With the collaboration of:

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