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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat


Updated: Aug 31, 2020

This was the place where, in a handful of weeks, I would have opened my exhibition CONSERVATION.

The very first thought was drenched in pain.

Reading the first posts on Facebook, the sharing of drama, the overflowing of emojis, the racist comments on what is going to built there instead, the uncountable “do you remember…”, the race to crown which memory is the best one, mine or yours?… all of the above took me straight back to 1976, to the days and weeks after the earthquake.

My story is more important than your story, my memories are more poignant, more painful, I am validated by my pain, you don’t know how it feels, you just don’t understand…

It only feels like pain.

Pain coupled with the existential recognition that your life is conducted and directed by bulletins: disaster, war, death and now fire bulletins. You can only hold your hands high up and wait.

An exhibition about destruction and reconstruction, via the conservation of memory: I could laugh at destiny! Is this a macabre trick played by Athropos? I create a makeshift of a church, and the church burns down. Thank you, Morta.

My life has been constellated by U-turns: the earthquake at 8, the panic and losing my memory at 21, just to name two. I have lost things thanks to earth, water, air, and now fire-by-proxy. It often felt like if I was standing blindfolded in the centre of a field filled with rakes. Any direction I go and any step I take, I stumble on one and it hits me, hard, right in the face: projects I had to end, dreams I could not follow, doors I could not open because I have been given the wrong key.

Here I find myself again, at the entrance, and Fate tells me that I am not welcomed.

Or so it feels.

While making the pieces I haven’t cried. I cried this morning, in the plaster room. As usual, we never cry for the others, we always cry for ourselves.

What is going to happen to my exhibition? What about the pieces? What about the memory? You just don’t know how it feels…

If there is something I have learned from the people of my Land, from my people, from that tribe I belong to and that I proudly represent, is that no matter what happens, there is a job that needs to be done. My job is to make pieces, to create the exhibition, to show up and make stuff.

The job for the people of The Bureau is to have more imagination, to create more, to strengthen the community, to invent, to dream larger dreams, to be filled with more wonder, dance to louder music, print bolder pictures, take risks, create a bigger stage.

And then shout and share.


Once I find a new venue, I will let you all know.

The Exhibition is not cancelled.


[original post and amendments can be found here]

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