20 > 29

Donibane Garazi - Paintings of Saint Jean Pied de Port

The Maison Française in Oxford is hosting an exhibition of paintings by Josette Dacosta, “Donibane Garazi – Paintings of Saint Jean Pied de Port”, from 20 May to 29 May.

The exhibition, accompanied by a display of pinhole-camera photographs of Saint Jean Pied de Port by Abel Bourgeois, is open daily from 2.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m., and on Friday 26 May from 2.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

Josette Dacosta: “This exhibition is the portrait of a street, the Rue de la Citadelle in Saint Jean Pied de Port (Donibane Garazi in Basque), where I have my studio.”

“Saint Jean Pied de Port is the capital of the Basque province of Lower Navarre. It dominates access to the pass leading southwards over the Pyrenees into the former kingdom of Navarre, of which Lower Navarre was once part. Charlemagne’s troops are said to have passed through here, and Napoleon’s as well.”

“Today, Saint Jean Pied de Port is a key staging post for pilgrims making their way to Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain. They enter by the Porte de Saint Jacques and take the Rue de la Citadelle, a narrow, curved street lined with tile-roofed houses built in red and grey stone from nearby quarries, which descends steeply from the fortified Citadel above the town to the medieval church beside the river Nive below.”

“Over a period of several years, during the winter months when the town is quiet and largely free of visitors, I painted the street from three locations: a stone parapet above the medieval gateway leading into the town from the north, a balcony in the house directly opposite my studio, and a loft in the church tower at the bottom of the hill. Rather than a literal portrayal of its houses with their white-painted walls and shutters in typical Basque red, green and brown, my objective was to express the intimacy with this town that I feel every time I step out of my studio.”

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