This blog feels like the place to be right now. I can be quiet. I can think my own thoughts more clearly. But when I think about the need for sanctuary my heart stops.
I want everyone at Arts Council England to know that telling anyone who begins a conversation by saying that they have struggled with access (in a nay context and for any reason) to get networked in, is simply not equitable. And I’m sorry, but for invisible disability it’s like telling a wheelchair user to grow a leg.
So I’m finally returning. I can’t help wondering what Abuela (grandma) would say?
I wish too that my father could know that I am going back to Catalonia, via the beaches of Barcarès and Argèles (where he was held in refugee interment camps), to retrace his exile journey to England in 1939.
But unmasking means changing habits and changing thought patterns too. Unmasking means I can begin to find my own contours and stay me shaped for longer. This makes it easier to locate myself if I have to mask. I can recover more quickly too.
I can’t separate what I’m gradually learning and absorbing of recent history from this present struggle. Why is so little spoken about the open wounds resulting from a national failure to face up to and negotiate historic memory.
Like Hansel and Gretel before me I left some breadcrumbs, but still I’m rather awestruck that I could have missed working my way back to this somewhat seminal moment in the evolution of a project called The Museum for Object Research.
With my art practice I witness. It’s all I can do.
I only know that a few days ago I began my tribute to Heather Heyer, invoking my Spanish ancestors to help me in my witness, and now I must cast my gaze to my old home town of Barcelona. Somehow these moments are joined despite their distant geographies.
My heart is breaking for Barcelona. For the Ramblas, and for all the victims of this latest act of terror. It seems the acts of witness are never done.
The spirit of these works is nostalgic yet confrontational, employing a juxtaposition of painted and collaged elements as a means of articulating the unspoken. Buenos Días Dictador, forms a visual essay which tweaks at the invisibility cloak of Franco’s rule to ask a serious question; how can we live the life domestic in the face of violent rupture, exile and dictatorship?
Returning to the differences in processing with which I began my piece, it seems to me that as NT move speedily onwards to the next person and the next opportunity they may fail to notice many examples of autistic kindness.
What an unfortunate processing deficit that would turn out to be.