Federico García Lorca
Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid, Spain
For a while, Federico García Lorca’s plays and poems were banned in Spain. And it was forbidden to even speak his name. But it wasn’t just because of the dark themes of his work, its exploration of women’s sexuality, its challenging of traditional, conservative Spanish values. It was also because he was a socialist. And an outspoken one at that. I will always be on the side of those who have nothing, he once said. His career as a playwright was building momentum and bringing him celebrity when in July 1936, Spain fell into civil war. Intellectuals like Lorca were considered dangerous by Franco and his Nationalists. Lorca left Madrid, the city that had made him famous and seen his works performed for the first time. He planned to return to Alfacar, the sleepy Grenada town where he’d been born. But he didn’t make it that far. On 19 August, 1936, Lorca was overtaken by Nationalists on the road home. He was shot and his body thrown into an unmarked grave alongside the bodies of others who opposed the Nationalist cause. It wasn’t until Franco’s death in 1975 that Lorca’s work was published in its full and uncensored form in Spain. In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world, wrote Lorca. And given the current popularity of Lorca’s work, both in Spain and abroad, this is certainly true of him.
Here, Lorca holds a dove. The dove of peace. Or perhaps one of the doves that was the other, or the neither in his poem Qasida of the Dark Doves.