Guernica Remakings at the Working Class Movement Library, 2019

The first stop on the 2019 Guernica Remakings tour was the Working Class Movement Library, January to March 2019, in Salford, UK, where Dr Nicola Ashmore worked closely with Lynette Cawthra the Library Manager. She wanted to work with this Library because of connections with both Picasso’s original Guernica tour and the making of the protest banner, which was partially sewn in the Library in 2014. The 2019 exhibition saw the return of the banner to the library after six years.

Picasso’s tour had stopped in nearby Manchester 80 years earlier, in 1939. Connecting to the local history and the community was integral to Dr Nicola Ashmore’s curatorial approach and some archival material from the Working Class Movement Library was displayed. Notably, information about Picasso’s Guernica display and from the Foodship for Spain campaign in 1939. Funds raised through the display of Guernica were donated to the charity, Foodship for Spain, to alleviate the food shortages affecting the Spanish people amidst the Spanish Civil War. Picasso’s Guernica was displayed from 1 to 15 February, 1939, in the former H.E. Nuns & Co., Ford car showroom, at the corner of Victoria Street and Cateaton Street in Manchester. Notably, the Foodship for Spain committee had its offices nearby in Deansgate.

Library Manager, Lynette Cawthra, introduced Dr Nicola Ashmore to local artist, Claire Hignett. Claire’s work focuses on the arrival in the UK of nearly 4,000 Basque children sent by boat from Spain in 1937. The children had been evacuated shortly after the bombing of the town of Guernica, where civilians were targeted. Alongside the exhibition the Learning Lab enabled opportunity to discuss how artists may benefit from using archives in their practise. Claire shared her experiences of working with archives and showcased her work within the exhibition. 

Also on display at the Working Class Movement Library alongside the Guernica Remakings exhibition was Chagos(nica) by Saradha Soobrayen. Chagos(nica) is a series of visual and poetic remakings informed by a found poem about Guernica, translated into English from Kreol by Lindsey Collen working with adult literacy groups in Mauritius. Saradha attended the Guernica Remakings exhibition in Brighton, UK, in 2017. Her ideas and connections shaped the development of the tour and Saradha became one of three artists in residence for the 2019 Guernica Remakings tour. 

Guernica Remakings exhibition at the Working Class Movement Library, 31 January – 20 March 2019

Working Class Movement Library
51 Crescent
M5 4WX

EXHIBITION OPENING Thursday 31 January 2019
Tuesday 19 February 2019
ILLUSTRATED TALK: Wednesday 13 MARCH 2019, 14:00 – 16:00