Public Domain / Latitudes

The Pilgrim

Throughout 2023, Barcelona and Askeaton

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“The Pilgrim” is a pilot exchange programme linking Barcelona with southwest Ireland, Latitudes with the organisation Askeaton Contemporary Arts, and Irish artists Ruth Clinton & Niamh Moriarty with Catalan artist Eulàlia Rovira. Throughout 2023, artist residencies and a public programme will enhance new artistic and curatorial research, and create new possibilities for international collaboration.

“The Pilgrim”’s curatorial framework derives from an extraordinary story from over two centuries ago. It is recalled that a Barcelona merchant named Don Martínez de Mendoza, one of the wealthiest men in Catalonia during the mid-1700s, murdered his son-in-law to avenge the death of his daughter in childbirth in a Barcelona convent years before. Don Martínez ended up living his last sixteen years as a pilgrim in penance in Askeaton, County Limerick. A cryptic inscription can still be found in the cloister of Askeaton Friary: “Beneath lies the Pilgrim’s Body, who died January 17, 1784”.

Latitudes learned about the existence of this local legend when visiting Askeaton in 2018 and were captivated by understanding how its details might match the historical reality in Barcelona. The tale points to little-known histories of cultural connections, and emotional ties between two distinct places of very different scales. “The Pilgrim” will develop in an open-ended way through a shared approach to research and practice, storytelling and performativity, and an understanding of the existing dynamics of place. What can twenty-first-century curators and artists learn from each other, as well as from the navigators, pirates and economies that once linked Spain with Ireland during the last centuries? How can we (re)discover the role that place twinning has historically played in civic and cultural life?

In May 2023, Ruth and Niamh spent two weeks in Barcelona developing new work around relics, rubbings and translation, and in August, Rovira will pay her first visit to Askeaton.

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