“Critics may erase all of my poetry, if they wish.
But this poem, which I remember today, cannot be erased by anyone”.
Pablo Neruda, poet
With these words, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda summarised one of the greatest humanitarian feats that it was his duty to carry out: arranging the voyage of the Winnipeg, a ship that carried more than 2,200 Spanish refugees persecuted by Franco at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The ship set sail in the port of Trompeloup in France, and arrived at the port of Valparaiso on Chile’s Pacific coast on 3 September 1939, where the refugees were offered asylum and the majority of them went on to build a new life.
The exhibition “Outbound Ticket” by Cecilia Zabaleta, visual artist and the granddaughter of one of those Spanish refugees that disembarked from the Winnipeg, invites us to navigate through the channels of a persistent and uprooted migrant memory, using a visual and artistic language that reinforces the connection between concepts such as migration, roots, searching, solidarity, resilience, the value of life and the endless yearning for peace, in both the past and the present.