About Guernica Remakings

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What is Guernica Remakings?

Guernica Remakings explores four remakings of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in the 21st century and reveals an important and on-going dialogue between art and action, collaboration and creation.  Art and design historian Dr Nicola Ashmore was inspired to carry out this research as a result of her involvement in collectively remaking Picasso’s Guernica as a protest banner. You can read more about this project on the page: Remaking Picasso’s Guernica a banner

Guernica Remakings an International Phenomena

This research project brings together four remakings of Picasso’s Guernica connecting activity in: America, Canada, France, Spain, South Africa and the UK and India. The local and global politics manifest in these four individual remakings is heard through the voices of the project participants through the videos published on this website. Issues that are explored throughout this series of videos includes: the translation of Picasso’s Guernica; using art as activism; witnessing pain and distress; and the value and currency of Guernica in the 21st century.

Activism and Picasso’s Guernica

Since the painting’s completion in 1937, Guernica has been reproduced and reworked many times. This research project explores four remakings: Goshka Macuga’s The Nature of the Beast (2009-2010); The Keiskamma Guernica (2010), Guernica, a play (2011 – 2012) and the Remaking of Picasso’s Guernica as a protest banner (2012 – 2014). A common thread found in all four remakings is the artistic opposition to governments who chose to sacrifice civilian populations to pursue their own agendas. Goshka Macuga’s The Nature of the Beast uses the Rockefeller Guernica tapestry to contest the 2003 US led Iraq invasion and military involvement in Afghanistan. The Keiskamma Guernica challenges the South African government’s refusal to comprehensively respond to the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Canadian play write Erika Luckert’s theatrical production of Guernica returns our attention to those that were killed on the day the market town of Guernica was bombed by the fascist forces of Europe; the play in many ways functions as an antidote to the numbness people feel when lives lossed are reduced to a number – a statistic on the news.  Remaking of Picasso’s Guernica as a protest banner makes connections between historic and current government led aerial attacks on civilian populations through its presence at protests it calls for governments to stop bombing civilians and to open the borders to help those escaping conflicts.

The remakings of Guernica addressed reveal an important dialogue between art and activism through community based collaborative practices. They also demonstrate the on-going global use of Guernica as a form of political action, continuing into the 21st century.