Dr Nicola Ashmore travelled to Barcelona in January 2023 to present the Guernica Remakings project at Espronceda Institute of Art and Culture, Barcelona, Spain as part of their Cultural Diplomacy, Art, Peace and Solidarity project in partnership with the German Consulate in Barcelona. This project aimed to create dialogue between cultures, about art and diplomacy. It was an important time for reflection. In the midst of the war in the Ukraine, with the movement of displaced people and border control coming under scrutiny, all coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death. Savina Tarsitano, co-founder of Espronceda and project co-curator, highlights how important it is “to open the doors and exchange ideas also with citizens, local community, and involve also art and education in the peace process.” This approach underpins the ethos of the Cultural Diplomacy project. Nicola contributed to the dialogue by talking about her recent experiences in Hamburg, South Africa. This work involved a three way collaboration with Savina Tarsitano, leading a Kids’ Guernica peace painting workshop, collaborating with an intergenerational group from the Keiskamma Art Project. Nicola’s talks offered insights into her motivation and methods. She highlighted collaborative art practices within community settings utilised within the ongoing Guernica Remakings project. She reflected upon the role and capacity of art to push back against those committing atrocities within the context of cultural diplomacy.
Guernica Remakings exhibition featuring the Keiskamma Art Project Kids’ Guernica canvas
The Guernica Remakings exhibition displayed for the first time the Kids’ Guernica canvas made in Hamburg, South Africa in October 2022 by the families involved in the Keiskamma Art Project. This created an inspiring environment for the new peace painting Kids’ Guernica workshop with families and children from Ukraine and Spain now living in Barcelona. The longevity of the collaboration between the Guernica Remakings project and the Keiskamma Art Project was highlighted through the display of the Keiskamma Guernica commissioned by Nicola in 2017. This is the fifth Keiskamma Guernica the Keiskamma Art Project has created. This was shown alongside a series of short documentary films that followed its creation and showed four further international remakings of Guernica featured in the Guernica Remakings project.
The Guernica Remakings exhibition was installed alongside the exhibition “Dialogue” curated by Victoria Tissot and Savina Tarsitano featuring the Cultural Diplomacy, Art, Peace and Solidarity project’s 8 artists in residence. Savina led a new Kids’ Guernica workshop with families and children from Ukraine and Spain now living in Barcelona. This resulted in a new collaborative canvas created by the Ukrainian and Spanish families, an example of interculture dialogue, locating their new Kids’ Guernica mural within the Kids’ Guernica global artistic community. The exhibition gave the families an expanded visual and political context that began with Picasso’s painting Guernica and connected with an international range of 21st century collective remakings of Guernica.
Presenting the Guernica Remakings project
On the 24 January 2023 Nicola contributed to the speaker series, part of the Cultural Diplomacy, Peace, Solidarity, Art and Diplomacy project. The online presentation on the Guernica Remakings project was presented to 8 professional artists in residence based internationally, largely in areas where conflict and the impact of conflict is experienced daily. This presentation stimulated dialogue on the role and capacity of art and art activism within cultural diplomacy.
On the 25 January 2023 Nicola delivered an introductory talk focusing on the Guernica Remakings project in South Africa. This talk launched the Kids’ Guernica art and peace workshop with children and families from the Ukraine and Spain. The talk was adapted for children of Primary School age. Espronceda reported an increased interest in the workshop over the subsequent month that led to the completion of the large-scale peace painting approximately 7m long by 3m wide. The plan was made to exhibit the Kids’ Guernica peace painting in Japan in March 2023 and in Nepal in April 2023.
On the 26 January 2023 Nicola gave a presentation on the Guernica Remakings project which contributed to the speaker series for early career artists and Ukrainians as part of the Cultural Diplomacy, Peace, Solidarity, Art and Diplomacy project. The talk was followed by a tour of the Guernica Remakings exhibition which happened alongside the exhibition “Dialogue” curated by Victoria Tissot and Savina Tarsitano and featuring the project’s 8 artists in residence.
This work was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council [grant number AH/W00612X/1].