Nerac. The William Blake association plunges back into hell from 14-18

the essential From 23 October to 20 November, the Nérac association William Blake presents his exhibition “Mémoire des Poilus de 000 – 14” . A war told without filter, accompanied by breathtaking details.

On the heights of Nérac, the headquarters of the William Blake association is always full. In the four corners of this Ali Baba cave, not a single room seems to be able to breathe as the collections are numerous. A disorder in appearance, yet well ordered and methodically classified, dated and explained: “All the pieces have a written explanation” assures the inexhaustible André Furlan, a sleuth of history and its sometimes forgotten violence. Like this German bayonet used by the infantry from 1914.

The Great War in Art

Frightfully murderous with its jagged teeth, and since banned by the Geneva Convention, or this carbide lamp, an original English model, quickly became essential in the trenches. For more than a year, the association, which has about fifty members, has been working as a goldsmith to set up this exhibition dedicated to soldiers during the First World War.

Through research, and a well-stocked contact book and the invaluable help of Rachel, civic service within the structure, André Furlan was able to find exceptional pieces, and collections that would make the national museums pale: “We have all the outfit of a hairy 28 th infantry regiment, but also generals or a legion of honor in its original box.”

Examples among many others that will be exhibited between the walls of the former prefecture of Nérac. In total no less than 200 handcrafted objects from the trenches will appear there. The exhibition will also be marked by the presentation of the personal saber of Major General Philippe Pétain, long before the latter was promoted to the rank of Marshal of France and struck with national indignity. Countless letters recounting the horror of the front will also be available. Among them, that of a man describing another facet of the conflict.

Mobilized within the hospital of the Red Cross of Nérac, he recounts the emotion aroused by the death of a soldier from Albret, and his funeral followed by more than 3 000 people. A war also told through the artistic prism, in particular through the exhibition of the artist Jolayne Dupiot-Saubadine, whose sculptures have obtained the National Centenary Label 1918. Philippe Buisine will hold a conference on Dadaism, a movement that emerged during the conflict.

The writer Alain Paraillous will also be there as he will address the lives of women during this war. On the sidelines of this meeting, the William Blake association will host a presentation of the history of bread during the war. The Gers historian Philippe Bonneu-Faure de Neuvialhe will speak of an important manuscript, the original copy of “Verdun – Les Vautours” written by Gabriel Courtès, a poet mobilized during the fighting: “It was the first play to be played at the front on 14 February 1918 “specifies André Furlan.

At the heart of this war of 20 millions of dead, the Friends of William Blake want above all to show the conflict in all its forms. By its violence, its policy, its sorrows but also its solidarity, the volunteers honor their promise to bring a quality culture in rural areas. The exhibition “Mémoire de Poilus 000 – 18” will be no exception to the rule. .

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