AFTER DARK IN ANDALUCIA

As citizens of the world we are made unique by our differences, some of these are imbedded deep within our social history and become engraved on our hearts by the repetition of ritual and tradition. They tell a story to the passing traveller that says “we are here, we are proud and this is us”.

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‘AFTER DARK IN ANDALUSIA’ Dimensions: 130 cm tall x 115cm wide x 25 cm deep

 AFTER DARK IN ANDALUSIA

Now the dark, becomes the shroud of celebrants night.

Shadows move, are shaped, revealed,

sinister, robed, holding candles high.

Here the mask of the Capirote,

dress the penitent Nazarene.

As they march in lines abreast

like peas within a breaking pod,

heads bent in devotion and in shame.

Processing, led through cobbled streets,

young men with Tronos on shoulders high.

The drums they bang and trumpets roar.

The acolytes burn frankincense,

chained by censers hypnotic swing.

Sweet aroma lingers long,

as across the span of centuries

the march of death reverberates

and the souls of human kind

resonate in sympathy.

Old and young join hands and hold,

as in devotion and tradition they process.

Like flotsam on a pulsating sea

they sway in reverential throng.

Black mourning, bobbing lace mantilla

adorn the heads from ages lost.

Whilst the tourists of a different world

watch and click

creating digital rememberings

and tomorrow they are gone!

But the procession of the faithful,

marks time in Andalucía

and then goes on and on.

             Rob T

The poetry describes the Easter processions marking the death of Christ and celebrating his resurrection observed in Granada, Andalucía. Its commentary identifies the medieval and somewhat sinister element of these events. It identifies how it is part of the tradition and how it unites and identifies the community. It also observes how this tradition is a draw for the tourist industry and this input in itself reinforces the tradition and so supports the maintenance of the local community. The procession includes the Capirote (These are in brightly coloured hoods and are hiding their faces in shame at their complicity (passive or otherwise) in the death of Christ; they are the penitent Nazarenes (of Nazareth). The procession includes large float like platforms (Tronos) carried by young men (up to 30 or 40) each of these denotes a scene or characters relating to the death of Christ. It really is a spectacular occurrence in which to be caught up.

When coming to make the sculpture, research showed that underlying the procession in Granada was a long and tortuous history.

This story revolves around religion and an intricate journey that underlies the colourful and varied culture within the city.

The carved sculpture is in the form of three lobes, each one representing one of the mono theistic religions; Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Each one frames a space that represents the common search for peace and fulfilment and connection to a supreme being. The base frames a common space which represents the three religions coming together respecting each other’s differences and celebrating the common sense of humanity.

Each section of glass represents chapters in the story of the area.

The first starts with Indalo man which has been found as cave drawings representing a stick man holding a rainbow, depicting man’s special relationship with God. The piece then alludes to the great centre of peace with the three religions living in agreement. The sun is shining on a perfect meadow (but suggests the form of a Jewish skull cap or Kipa) and the three religions

 

walk together in harmony (White Green and Red). The panel is inscribed with the name of God in Hebrew. The winds of change blow as jealousy and intolerance creeps into the society. These culminate in 1066 with the crucifixion of Joseph the Jewish leader.

The second glass panel is cut in the form of an elaborate arch with fruit trees and water which represents the Moorish civilisation and the building of the Alhambra. Through the arch can be seen the crucifixion of Joseph the Jew. The panel moves on (the path now denoted by just a Red and Green line) and is inscribed with the name of God in Islamic script representing the period of Islamic dominance. At the opposite end of the panel is the shape of a cross surrounded by flame and faces representing the end of the Moorish period. This ended when Queen Isabel of Spain took Granada for Christianity (in1492) which resulted in a genocide that took a hundred years to wipe out the Islamic community. Through the cross can be seen the third panel and the flames burning the books, representing the destruction of the libraries and culture of the Moors.

The final panel continues with just the Red line making the path above the music and exuberance of the procession in celebration of the cross. Beneath the procession, led by the Capirote representing the penitent Nazarenes (Dressed in hoods hiding their face in shame) followed by the old the young and the children in celebration; the panel is inscribed with the name of Christ in Aramaic. This completes the procession.

Compassion – this piece ends up in a festival marking the Passion of Christ, but it also reflects upon how fickle the emotions of peoples can be and how only too often, the cup of human kindness is jealously guarded ‘for people like us!’

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