09 November 2007

Terrorists? Freedom Fighters?

A journalist looks at photographs from the exhibition "Basque Chronicles"
in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao October 16, 2007.
Photograph © Vincent West/Reuters

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is marking its tenth anniversay by showing work by a dozen contemporary Basque artists under the title "Chacun à son goût" ("To Each Their Own"). Among the work included in the exhibition is a series of photographs by Clemente Bernad entitled "Basque Chronicles." Unfortunately, none of the images are available on Bernad's web page (the series appears to have been removed from the page).

According to this report in The Guardian, these photographs have caused a political uproar with a conservative opposition Party and "the Association of Victims of Terrorism in the Basque Country" demanding that they be removed from the show. On his web page Bernad describes the photographs as an effort to capture "the atmosphere of conflict and contradiction of a nationalist movement." Critics insist that they amount to an apology for terrorism insofar as they do not unambiguously portray Basque seperatists in the ETA ("Euskadi Ta Askatasuna" or "Basque Homeland and Freedom") as terrorists. Approximately 800 people have died as the result of ETA violence.


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