value the brain & cut the priviledge
Below is a quote from an author on Metropolitan Barcelona –
“I came to Barcelona one year ago, drawn to the city like so many for its art, architecture, proximity to the Mediterranean and overall quality of life. But soon after arriving here, having spent considerable time with the likes of Gaudí, Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Tàpies and Puig i Cadafalch, I began to wonder about the famous women of Catalunya. Surely they existed. Surely they hadn’t been rendered completely invisible by the renowned machismo of the Iberian Peninsula.
So I began to ask. I asked locals, I asked foreigners. I asked my daughter’s Catalan teacher, I asked my Castilian teacher. I asked the pharmacist, the pediatrician, the gynecologist and the physiotherapist. I asked the barista and the grocer and the baker. And everyone had the same response. They would look up, they would look down. They would furrow their brows and scratch their chins. “Ahhhhhhhhh!” each one would ultimately conclude (as in, “I’ve got it!”). Arms raised, in happy victory, they would shout, “Montserrat Caballé!”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Montserrat Caballé fan. (Her famous duet with Freddie Mercury singing ‘Barcelona’ is not to be missed.) But she couldn’t possibly be the only one. Additionally, I was seeking the female counterparts to those aforementioned chaps whose very disdain for conventionality made them famous. I was looking for the anarchists, the poets, the painters, the sculptors. The women who had crossed artistic, literary and political lines; the women who had left a mark.”
Tortola Valencia was a brilliant brilliant dancer, uninhibited and not classically trained. She didn’t let the inability of others to porperly comprehend her art to hold her back in any way – eventually the public caught up to the excellence of her creative work. She was a strong feminist, and worked to change the dominate fashion trend of unhealthy and even dangerous corset wearing by women.
“Her independence, both in her art and her life,” writes Caulfield, “was often perceived as a menace to the stability of traditional Spanish society.”
Here’s to you Tortola, and to all other Barcelonian women past and present with the courage and conviction to prusue their art!
xox The GAG