Guernica Remakings, South Africa, research into the practice of cross-cultural translation through making.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Brighton
Department Name: Sch of Humanities

Abstract

Since Pablo Picasso's creation of Guernica (1937), the painting has been reproduced and recreated in many forms traversing the confines of fine art. The Keiskamma Art Project located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa have remade Guernica four times since 2010. Their translation of Picasso's iconic anti-fascist artwork transforms its geography, time and narrative from: Spain to South Africa, from the early 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century, from anti-fascism to the HIV/AIDS crisis. This research project focuses on this process of cross-cultural translation through the creation of a fifth Keiskamma Guernica and asks why Guernica? Exploring what it is about this artwork that lends itself to being adapted. A series of twelve short documentary films record the making of this artwork. The makers will be interviewed and in their own voices will discuss their role in the making process and their insights regarding the visual translation of Guernica to comment on the HIV / AIDS crisis in South Africa. The makers will also be given the opportunity to express their ideas and needs for change, which will be included in the videos creating their vision of the future. The videos will be made widely available through the publication of the videos online through Guernicaremakings.com, via a dedicated channel on Vimeo (Guernica Remakings), You Tube and the University of Brighton repository. The Guernica Remakings exhibition in Brighton, UK (Jul-Aug 2017) is timely it marks the 80th year from the bombing of the town of Guernica. It is a mechanism for ensuring that the transnational relevance of the messages held within the remakings of Guernica can travel to different regions. This is particularly poignant in a period when the UK is withdrawing from Europe, in part, motivated it seems by fear around the freedom of movement of 'others' Guernica's humanitarian message becomes relevant once again calling for solidarity and compassion transcending borders.

Planned Impact

The poorest area of South Africa is in the Eastern Cape, it is here within the Peddie District that this research is focused and seeks to have impact. The Keiskamma Art Project was begun in 2000/01 in this region in the village of Hamburg with the aim of raising self-esteem and contributing to poverty alleviation. The Keiskamma Art Project has a history of translating iconic artworks to speak to South African experience including the Bayeux Tapestry and Picasso's Guernica. This research investigates the practice of translation through making, commissioning the Keiskamma Art Project to create their fifth Kesikamma Guernica. In the short term this commission contributes to the financial success of the Keiskamma Art Project and its employment of over 100+ women directly contributing to poverty alleviation in the Peddie District. In the medium term the designers, artists and embroiderers collectively making the textiles based Guernica will develop skills in media and communication through their participation in the audio visual documentation of the artwork, communicating their role in the making process and their insights regarding the visual translation of Guernica to comment on the HIV / AIDS crisis. The makers will also be given the opportunity to express their ideas and needs for change, which will be included in the videos creating their vision of the future. In the long term the video documentation will provide a platform for the makers to be represented and bring a voice to their lived experience of the HIV / AIDS crisis, in turn building community and individuals self-esteem. The relevance of the research is far reaching connecting internationally with other collective remaking's of Guernica through the publication of the videos online through Guernicaremakings.com, a dedicated channel on Vimeo (Guernica Remakings) and You Tube. The secondary geographical focus, and the project's wider impact potential, is within the UK. The Guernica Remakings exhibition (Jul-Aug 2017) is a mechanism for ensuring that the transnational relevance of the messages can travel to different regions. At a time when the UK has voted to withdraw from Europe, in part, motivated it seems by fear around the freedom of movement of 'others' Guernica's humanitarian message becomes relevant once again calling for solidarity and compassion transcending borders.

Publications

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Ashmore Nicola (2017) Guernica Remakings

 
Title Guernica Remakings exhibition 
Description Guernica Remakings exhibition held at the University of Brighton Gallery from 31 July to 23 August 2017 encouraged reflection on the role and value of Pablo Picasso's Guernica through artworks remade in its image. The voices of those involved in making artworks were heard alongside the curator and maker Dr Nicola Ashmore. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Within the gallery three areas were dedicated to encourage participation. There was a work space complete with table, chairs, jigsaw, paper, pens and an exhibition trail which invited people to create their own Guernica. A pin board was erected to allow participants to put their Guernica's up on the gallery wall - both were well used throughout the duration of the exhibition. Another pin board invited the general public to display posters and literature related to political activity they were involved in. All of this activity was led by the exhibition visitors and consequently caused an expansion to the socio-political scope present in the gallery. The work space was also open as a bookable meeting space. This prompted a residency in the gallery by London based poet Saradha Soobrayen - a collaboration between Saradha and Maude Casey a Brighton based writer and activist and a meeting of a local group who are embarking on the collective creation of a protest banner. 
URL http://guernicaremakings.com/exhibition-2017/
 
Title Keiskamma Guernica 2017 
Description The Keiskamma Guernica (2017) is a textile artwork measuring 2m wide by 1m in height. It is the fifth Guernica created by the Keiskamma Art Project in Hamburg, South Africa. Picasso's Guernica has been morphed through this artwork from Spain to South Africa from the 1930s Spanish Civil War to the 21st century HIV/AIDS crisis. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact In the short term the commission of the Keiskamma Guernica (2017) has brought funds to the Keiskamma Art Project that enables the ongoing employment of the 100+ women working for the KAP directly contributing to poverty alleviation in the Peddie region of South Africa. The makers have developed skills in media and communication through their participation in the documentation of the artwork. Through semi-structured interviews they have gained the experience of communicating their role in the making process and their insights regarding the visual translation of Guernica to comment on the HIV / AIDS crisis. The artwork to date has been exhibited in Brighton, UK as part of the Guernica Remakings exhibition (31 July to 23 August 2017). The Keiskamma Guernica (2017) has also been incorporated into undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at the University of Brighton 2017-2018. 
URL http://guernicaremakings.com/about/keiskamma-guernica-2/
 
Description Impact Knowledge Exchange fund
Amount £1,300 (GBP)
Organisation University of Brighton 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 06/2018
 
Description Output Dissemination Fund
Amount £1,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Brighton 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 07/2017
 
Description Curator tour and Meet the Makers event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Private curator tour given to the University of the Third Age, members came to the gallery which sparked questions and discussion, the organiser reported increased interest in Guernica and requested a lecture be presented at a later date at one of their meetings, date to be confirmed. On 18 August 2017 the Curator's Tour and Meet the Makers event occurred, which sparked reflection, debate and conversation. Interest was shown in the exhibition touring and the content available online about the project via the dedicated website Guernicaremakings.com
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://guernicaremakings.com/exhibition-2017/