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Art in odd places

There is a series of arts events on in Cartagena at the moment grouped together under the banner of Manifesta 8. The exhibitions are looking at past and present day Cartagena with a focus on links between Southern Spain and North Africa.

We've been to three of the eight venues so far and top marks to the organisers for choosing interesting spots.

In the Casino, once a Gentleman's Club and now a sort of social centre with incredible tile work and extravagant decorated ceilings there's an exhibition that focuses on the mining, now long gone, near La Unión. The link is the silver on the glass photographic plates, the very same metal that the miners dug from the earth.

In the 18th Century "Autopsy Pavilion" where medical students once learned about anatomy by cutting up corpses there was a silent film looking at the defences in and around Cartagena and the Navy presence in the town.

Venue wise though the old Prison of San Anton opened in the 1930s and only recently closed was definitely my favourite. Some exhibits were in individual cells, others in the warders staff room and another in what looked like the old washroom. The whole place was dank, foreboding, cold and bare and the exhibition focused on the stories of immigrants and emigrants to and from Spain.

Most of the remaining venues are more traditional spaces but there's one in the social centre of an area of the town that has a less than savoury reputation - that should be fun.


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