I have just returned from two nights in Paris where I visited a museum exhibition about Africa, saw paintings, and was reminded of Otto Dix’s war paintings — and his paintings of war injuries in particular.
We travelled there by train, which gave me many lovely hours of dozily dreaming and reading. It was a foggy, misty day so staring out at the landscape provided only patchy views of the landscape.
African artists and Trade
From the Gare de Montparnasse we rushed to the fantastic Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac.
I wanted to see ‘L’Afrique des Routes’, an exhibition that turns European perspectives about the African continent upside-down.
All humans originate from Sub-Saharan Africa. From Africa, humans have spread around the world. We are all one people, one humankind.
Africans were the first travellers, explorers, traders, adventurers and artists in our world and this exhibition is about that trade and those routes.
Otto Dix’s War Paintings and The Tin Heart Gold Mine
In the last room of the exhibition, the museum put together damaged African masks juxtaposed with photos of WW1 soldiers whose faces had been blown off by shrapnel. These terrible facial injuries were very common in trench warfare and something that Otto Dix witnessed as a soldier and then painted.
One theme of The Tin Heart Gold Mine is war-damaged people, which is why I decided Otto Dix’s war paintings must inevitably be part of the art collection of Lara’s lover, Oscar.
Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac
This was a small part of the wonderful Quai Branly exhibition and it’s not a big part of my book. The photos and paintings are distressing, so there is no need to follow the Otto Dix links I have provided, though historians may find them interesting.
There is also a novel by Pierre Lemaitre called Au Revoir La-Haut about survivors of these injuries and it has been made into a haunting comic book or bande dessinée.
Exciting News: The Tin Heart Gold Mine official book launch
Since my return from Paris, I have been occupied with preparing for the The Tin Heart Gold Mine official book launch, to be held at the Café du Centre, Maubourguet, at 19:00 on 24th March 2017.
The invitation went out on Friday 3rd March (yesterday). If you want to be there, but haven’t received an email, please click [RSVP to Book Launch] to email me so I know you are coming.RSVP to Book Launch
2 Otto Dix, In Memory of the Glorious Time, 1924