Recently we have had the chance to proudly visit the first exhibition created by two members of the team, Gabino and Guiomar, and one of our collaborators, Paola; all of them also members of the cultural association BAQRA. Along with the organizations Hammada and Una Finestra al Món (A Window to the World) and in conjuction with the Cooperation department of the City of Tarragona, they have made the first steps in the adventure of entering in the world of curators by creating an exhibition about the conflict in the Western Sahara: #MurSàhara. A land without roots.
This topic was already presented in Cultius with the article The pain of nostalgia, with which the history of the conflict was explained in base of the Resistance Museum or the Museum of the Saharawi People’s Liberation Army, located in Tindouf (Algeria). Below you can watch a video made by Alex Saló shown during the opening day (12.05.15) and in which the situation is explained in a clear and easy way.
Western Sahara remains the last African colony – Spain is officially the administrative power although it is in fact Morocco who actually dominates the territory – This led to social inequalities in the saharawi population, which was divided among members of the resistance (Frente Polisario – Polisario Front) established in Algerian territory and separated from the people who stayed in the occupied cities. The separation was mostly physical: they built a wall of sand, the world’s largest wall after the Great Wall of China, idem the world’s largest active militarized wall. Forty-two years later, the situation remains the same.
Currently, the Western Sahara remains under occupation of Morocco, only one small part is free from military although largely undermined. The process of decolonization is still not finished, and neither the Spanish government nor the UN and the relevant Mission sent by this latter (MINURSO) has resolved the situation. This has led to a complex reality with Sahrawi exiles around the world, also in our region; others live badly under Moroccan occupation and half as a refugees in camps in the Hammada desert, in the Algerian province of Tindouf.
The exhibition therefore, aims to show the division of the Sahrawi society through the presence of a physical wall separating the room in two. On one side the refugee camps, with photographs donated by people who have been there, such as Alba Benedicto and Enric Llorens who also helped in providing information to draw a photographic discourse ranging from the everyday life in the camps to pictures of the wall itself, made from the free or “liberated” territories.
On the other side, once we passed the wall in the occupied territories, the visitor can find an artistic installation made by Enric Vives about the robbery (the world’s largest phosphate mine, fishing, sand and agricultural products) that this region is suffering, together with an audiovisual prepared by Equip Media Sàhara, a group of activists that record the attacks suffered by Sahrawi citizens in the occupied cities. Violence and fear of these images might be felt from the other side of the wall at the beginning of the exhibition room, a metaphor of how the Sahrawi people from the other side lament the suffering of their compatriots.
The exhibition can be visited until May 30th, at Espai Jove Kesse (Tarragona). It intends to highlight one of the injustices and cruelties of the world in which we live and at the same time as a remembrance of all other conflicts, most of which we know little or nothing about but that join us in our daily lives.
#MurSàhara. A land without roots (Una terra sense arrels) aims to show the double alienation of Sahrawi people. On one hand, the refugees live in a wasteland where almost no nourishment can be grown, on the other, the people of the occupied territories are in their own land without being able to run it.
Happy and excited, we encourage you to visit the exhibition if you have the chance! We also leave you a link to the photo gallery in which you can also contribute to.