Winnipeg Videoart

GREC de Proximitat


Opening of the clip which revolves around the four stage of the Winnipeg story: The Civil War, the border crossing and the exile, the refugee’s camps in Argelès-sur-Mer and the Winnipeg and exile in Chile.

Directed by Winnipeg’s director himself, Norbert Martínez and played by the cast, this video art piece will bring us into a virtually perceptible visual and sound world.

Winnipeg set is an homage to hope and a protest against the forgotten. This play remembers that moment in which the poet Pablo Neruda and Chile’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Abraham Ortega, opened the doors of the country to more than 2.000 exiled Spanish republicans.

Not everyone recalls it, but, between 1934 and 1937, the poet Pablo Neruda was Chile’s consul in Barcelona. He lived in this city during the most decisive moments of the Second Republic and the beginnings of the Civil War until he was forced to go back to Chile after three years in the Catalan city because of the Francoist troops stepping into it. He then followed from there all news concerning the Barcelona occupation by fascist troops and the arrival of many exiled in French territory. They were all sentenced to lead a miserable quality of life in the refugee’s camps of the neighbor country. Neruda had strong connections with the President of Chile and he managed to be appointed as Special Consul for the Spanish Immigration in France. Taking advantage of this position and thanks to the complicity of the then Foreign Affairs Minister, Abraham Ortega, he got involved in the initiative to freight a French boat, the Winnipeg, in order to transport more than 2.000 exiled to Valparaíso, where the Chilean government would exile them. They arrived in the harbor in September of that year and they mostly established themselves in the north of the country. Some of them came back to Spain years after, although most of them settled down in Chile for good. Somebody once titled them as ‘Neruda’s sons’, a poet who considered that episode of his existence as valuable as the poems he had written himself. Eighty years afterwards (as of 2019), this story of blackness, horror and cruelty, but also of hope and solidarity, makes for an almost forgotten episode of the history of the Civil War. In 2014, Laura Martel told the facts in a graphic book starred by a child and having Antonia Santolaya’s paintings.

Artistic details

An original idea and directed by: Norbert Martínez

Laia Alberch
Laura María González
Martí Salvat
Edu Tudela

Production: Grec 2020 Festival de Barcelona and Puça Espectacles
Executive producers: Ôscar García and Marina Guarch
Camera operator and edition: Clara Guixé and Viedma
Underwater Camera operator: David Antoja
Sound: Nacho López
Direction assistant: Diana Díaz
Production assistant: Guillem Recuenco
Graphic design: Mancha

Special thanks to Jordi Chias, Xavier Palomino, Vicky Pérez and Jordi Soler Quintana.


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