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Sunday Soul – Guernica
Year 11 – Playlist 3/52 – For the week of May 4th 2014
Pablo Picasso left Spain in 1934 and he never returned. La Guerra Civil Española (The Spanish Civil War) was a conflict between Spanish Republicans – those who fought for democratically elected leaders – and the Nationalists – those who fought for Military General Francisco Franco. Franco and his Nationalists eventually won the war in 1939 and the military overthrew the elected government by force and Franco ruled Spain as a totalitarian from 1939 until his death in 1975. La Guerra Civil Española was a struggle that called to many people all over the world, writers like Earnest Hemingway, many young American, French, African, and English men joined the cause of democracy and fought for Spain in hopes of defeating the military junta. Europe at this time was an explosion of Nationalist ideas, and with these ideas came three horrible powers (Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy, and Hitler in Germany) who would rise to collide against their own people in the tragedy of World War II.
Picasso’s Barcelona, a great city of art and bohemian creativity, was one of the first cultural casualties of the shift in continental thinking from one of state to one of “nationalism.” A city of culture, music, arts, architecture, love, adventure, and relatively easy living was ransacked, stripped of her city square, and the artists were rousted and arrested and punished for their thinking, and for their works. Unable to work in a climate of restriction, Picasso left for Paris before things got too serious. Beloved by his native country he was appointed Honorary Director-in-Exile of the Prado Museum in 1936 where he accepted a commission to paint a new work for the Spanish exhibition at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris. Uninspired, the huge canvas sat unpainted until April 26th of 1937.
German and Italian planes terror bombed the Basque city of Guernica early on a Monday. Mondays were market days, and the city’s center was filled with people bringing their wares to market. The bombing was intended to interrupt the munitions manufacturing of democratic Spain’s Republican Army, but the actual impact was many civilian deaths. This reprehensible and deadly below the belt maneuver by the hand of Franco’s Nationalist movement opened Picasso’s eyes. He immediately began work on a huge, black and white canvas which would reflect only the civilian response to war. There are no aircraft,
no guns, no insignias or uniforms in the 3.5 x 7.8 meters mural, only bodies, broken pieces of people, and animals, and anguish. Because of the neutrality of the painting Picasso could not be accused of taking any side, nor prescribing any other doctrine than asking its audience to reflect on the brutality, and horror of war itself. Reminding us that we are the victims of every bomb, and it is our hearts who break then the government’s weapons burst. Guernica was displayed at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne for the 1937 World’s Fair, and has gone on to stand as an international symbol of the anti-war movement. A replica of Guernica also hangs in the entrance hall of the United Nations building in New York City.
I realize that no bombs are dropping on our pretty heads today, and many of us are thriving in the height of a technology boom. We are leaving our cities to make art in higher ground. We are struggling to hold on to perceived ground, or giving it up in search of locations which offer us more emotional space, or artistic and economic freedom. At ground zero this struggle appears to have been lost, we are hopeless and can hardly bear the weight of the heckling from those who envy our prosperity, or have not yet been displaced. There is no sense in debating this, when we do we either huddle together and weep, or we begin to beat against each other so viciously that there can be no understanding between us. When we are under this kind of pressure we are working against our own hearts when we fail to extend our hands to each and every one of our brothers and sisters who have stumbled.
Our republic is seeking a nationalist sense of self. Our borders are stern, and our democracy is vague. Corporations who profit from poison, suffering, and war have grown too large to prosecute, and our attempts to restrain their limitless contributions to political campaigns has been struck down by the highest court in the land. We lock arms and protest, and are painted as deadbeats who don’t want progress in the press. We write, and we sing, and we march, chant, spray paint, and then we move across bays, out over bridges, and into the sprawl we have always resisted. Sprawl where we are disassociated from one another, united only through the propaganda of television and the internet. Separated, alone, and defeated.
This is our Guernica.
I urge you to reconsider your position on Socialism, public works, general assistance, immigration, and international relations. I urge you to know your history as well as you know your own body. I urge you to grasp at paint brushes and roll your canvases out as long, and as wide as you can. Begin to reflect and express the agony of this brutality. Stop pretending that if you say “ouch” you may be seen as weak, or a failure. Howl your hearts to the stars. Release the fears, and the cares of your soul into the world. Liberate your mind from these self imposed terror bombings, and show us exactly what and how you feel. It is essential that we reflect the price we are paying for the profit of others. It is essential that we reflect the casualties of these early days of this stupid war we are waging against ourselves.
See you next Sunday.
Here is the track listing for Sunday Soul: Guernica
1. Promenade Sentimentale – Vladimir Cosma
2. Finding Ourselves – IntroSoul Rhythm Mix – AfroniQue Soulz
3. If I Could Have You – Sunshine Jones Instrumental Version – Futurewife
4. One More Time – Thierry Tomas Remix – Cucumbers
5. Policy Of Truth – Deep Touch Remix – Depeche Mode
6. Superman – Black Coffee
7. From Disco To Club – Terry Lee Brown Junior Remix – Fer Ferrari
8. Cut Yourself Again – Echi
9. The Beautiful Dream – Faux Metier
10. Hangin’ On A String – Frankie Knuckles Club Mix – Loose Ends
11. Feel Up – Danny Tanaglia Remix – Grace Jones
12. La Barra – Mix 01 – Faux Metier
13. Thinking About You – Altered Images
14. Supersymmetry – Arcade Fire
15. Sunday Soul – Program ID
16. Over Your Shoulder – Chromeo
17. Sunday Soul – Program ID
Year 11 – Playlist 3|52
Total Running Time: 01 Hours 43 Minutes
May the stars above you shimmer and shine, guiding your heart always, all of the time. May they guide you sweetly, all the way home. And may all your sundays have soul.