Miquel Barceló in Geneva

In my blog entry dated September 15th, 2007, I told you of a commission which the Felanitx born artist, Miquel Barceló, had accepted in Geneva (Switzerland).

I have it from a very reliable source that the task has now been accomplished. The mural painting for the 1,500 m2 domed ceiling of Room XX in the UN Palais des Nations building in Geneva is now completed and, apparently, the finished result is said to be rather impressive.

Here is some background information (I quote from the ONUART website):

In April, 2007, in a ceremony presided over by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé, the Fundación ONUART was established in Madrid (ONU is the Spanish acronym for the United Nations Organization). Fundación ONUART is a private, non-profit agency with mixed public and private funding, whose main aims are to promote dialogue, through the use of Spanish contemporary arts, to promote dialogue, to drive understanding between cultures and societies, and to foster multilateralism in Geneva. 

Fundación ONUART commissioned Spanish artist, Miquel Barceló, to create a unique ceiling painting for Room XX. This meeting venue will host the UN Human Rights Council and will be one of the largest and most state-of-the-art of all the negotiating rooms at the Palais des Nations. What also distinguishes Room XX in particular is that it has an enormous 1,500 m2 ellipsoidal dome. This dome provides the backdrop for the biggest challenge ever for the 51-year-old Barceló. 

The Chamber for Human Rights and for the Alliance of Civilisations will be the room’s official title following its inauguration and it will be the permanent home of the newly created United Nations Human Rights Council. It will become the UN’s most modern negotiating room, using the latest materials and technology in audiovisual resources, conference services, interpretation systems, information technology and telecommunications.

Miquel Barceló, supported by a 20-strong team, was using 35 tons of paint with pigments from all corners of the globe, specially designed equipment, with the involvement of specialists in various disciplines, including particle physics laboratories, engineers, architects and others in heritage restoration.   

The Chamber for Human Rights and for the Alliance of Civilisations is currently being fitted out and furnished to its 800+ seating capacity. I understand that the inauguration date is set for sometime in November, 2008. We just have to wait a bit longer before we can see what the man from Felanitx has created, this time.

In the meantime, an exhibition with work by the Felanitx artist opened last week at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (Ireland), called Miquel Barceló: The African Work. The show can be seen until 28th September, 2008. This exhibition will then travel to CAC Málaga, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga (Spain), where it will be opened in November, 2008.

The top photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 2nd, 2008. The time was 12:25:43. The photo shows a detail of Miquel Barceló’s ceramic sculpture, Gran pot avec crânes sur 1 face, dated 2000. The bottom photo was borrowed from the Internet (© Agustí Torres – ONUART). Gracias.

Miquel Barceló in Geneva

19th Century Regal Pharmacy

The pharmacy shown here dates from 1857. It was a gift presented by the Spanish Reina Isabel II de Borbón when she visited Palma de Mallorca in 1852, aged 22, on her way to Menorca.

The gift was made to the Hospital Militar of Palma; the pharmacy was installed in the hospital’s annex, the former Convento de Santa Margarita

The Military Hospital has now been converted into a Municipal old people’s home; the former monastery today is transformed into Mallorca’s Archivo Regional Militar. You can see the regal pharmacy there, in Palma’s carrer Sant Miquel; admission is free.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 29th, 2008. The time was 12:56:18.

19th Century Regal Pharmacy

Cycling Tours

The Govern de les Illes Balears has created an extensive network of cycling tours throughout the Pla de Mallorca, all nicely marked with wooden signposts. There are ten bicycle excursions to choose from, with lengths from between 18 and 86 kms, and with varying grades of difficulty. 

For instance, you could ride along bicycle tour no. 4, which takes you from Algaida to Pina, Ruberts, Sencelles and back to Algaida, right through the scenic heartland of the island of Mallorca (25,5 kms). Or you could try tour no. 1, the longest one, from Port de Pollença to Pollença, Campanet, Selva, Inca, Sencelles, Algaida, Llucmajor to Campos (86 kms, one way).

Cycling is fun, it’s good exercise, and it keeps the doctor at bay, or so one hopes.

The photo was taken near Sencelles, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 21st, 2008. The time was 19:36:39.

Cycling Tours

Ermita de Betlém

Outside of Palma de Mallorca, only a handfull of monasteries or ermitas are still inhabited by monks. The Ermita de Betlém (Bethlehem), not far from Artà, is one of the few remaining ones. The monks living here belong to the order of Sant Pau i Sant Antoni. The ermitaños live of agriculture (olives and sheep), the sale of souvenirs, as well as from donations.

The small monastery was built in 1805, and extended further during the course of the 19th Century. Two hundred years on, a great sense of serenity, peace and tranquility still prevails.

A good number of monasteries in Mallorca nowadays provide accommodation for visitors. Sadly, the Ermita de Betlém does not offer this facility.

The photo was taken near Artà, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 24th, 2008. The time was 12:23:45.

Ermita de Betlém

USS Nassau Aircraft Carrier

USS Nassau was anchored in the Bay of Palma de Mallorca yesterday.

The US navy ship is classified as an amphibious assault ship. She is visiting Mallorca with a total of 2,782 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, plus 82 officers.

The Nassau is an aircraft carrier which comes with six Harrier attack planes, plus 29 helicopters of the Sea Knight, the Super Cobra, the Huey and the Sea Stallion types. I hope I am not giving away any military secrets, here.

She was deployed in February 2008 for a six month Mediterranean cruise and, apparently, is now on her voyage home, back to Norfolk, Virginia (USA). 

The main photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 25th, 2008. The time was 13:07:53. The bottom photo is borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of United States Navy. Thank you.

USS Nassau Aircraft Carrier

Human Rights in Alarò

Mallorca has an abundant choice in village communities. The island is large enough to allow for diversity and contrast in the social web of all these pueblos. Not one village is like the next. Each one is a world to itself.

Alarò is particularly attractive, I think. The village is well kept and clean, as it sits nicely below the Montaña del Castillo d’Alarò, with the Serra de Tramuntana mountains in the near distance. 

Last week, the community celebrated the 1st anniversary of its Human Rights Initiative. Japanese musician, Yoko Nomura, gave a faultless recital of Japanese court music on a traditional Koto instrument, at the festive Drets Humans Alarò occasion. Somehow, I wished that my pueblo, Felanitx, would have some of the sophistication that I met in Alarò, a few days ago.

The photo was taken in Alarò, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 21st, 2008. The time was 20:22:53.

Human Rights in Alarò

Lloret de Vistalegre

Lloret de Vistalegre is a small pueblo bang in the middle of the island of Mallorca. Not many tourists come here. If and when they do, they mostly drive straight on.

Apparently, 20 families lived in the municipality during the XVIth Century, already. Nowadays, approximately 1,200 inhabitants are proud of their small agricultural community.

If you want to know what Mallorca looked and felt like thirty years ago, this is where you want to go. Come at least for a short stroll. Have perhaps a decent pa amb oli, and a nice café con leche. All peace and quiet.

The photo was taken in Lloret de Vistalegre, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 11th, 2008. The time was 12:10:45.

Lloret de Vistalegre