Shouts from the Wall
Exhibit documents the Spanish Civil War


The Spanish Civil War, fought on the eve of World War II, has largely been forgotten in this country-remembered mainly today as the setting for Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. Yet it is considered one of the most important revolutions of modern times. This past fall, Shouts From the Wall: Posters and Photographs from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), an exhibit at the Tufts University Gallery at the Aidekman Arts Center, documented the war that inspired a generation of artists and writers.

Highlighted in the exhibit was the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a group of 3,000 Americans who went to Spain to fight on the side of the legitimately elected Republican government against Franco and his fascist forces. One-third of them would lose their lives by the end of the war. The travelling exhibit, comprising items from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives at Brandeis University, included original posters that were used to garner support for the Republicans, photographs (including the notorious photo by famed war photojournalist Robert Capa of a Spanish militiano being thrown back as he is fatally shot), and letters home from some of the members of the Brigade.

The exhibit was made possible by the generosity of the Prince of Asturias Fund, established at Tufts for the study of the Iberian Peninsula. In conjunction with the exhibition, Tufts hosted a symposium: "On the 25th Anniversary of General Franco's Death: Rethinking the Spanish Civil War," organized by Jose Alvarez-Junco, Prince of Asturias Professor in the Department of History. Leading scholars from the U.S. and abroad attended the bilingual sessions, which included topics such as The Military: The Africanistas and the "Other," The Franco Dictatorship in a Historical Perspective, and The Church: Regalismo and the Franco Regime. At the close of the symposium, octogenarian Abe Osheroff, a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, shared his experiences. His documentary, Art in the Struggle for Freedom, which addresses the role that the visual arts, poetry and music played during the war, was shown on a continuous loop in a video booth at the gallery. The gallery also held screenings of films about the Spanish Civil War, including Tierra y Libertad (Land and Freedom-A Story of the Spanish Civil War) and the 1943 version of For Whom the Bell Tolls, starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.







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