Back in the time when Barceloneta was not yet a tourist paradise

by Lorraine Williamson

BARCELONA – Tourists seem to be taking over everything in some places. A good balance between the interests of curious travellers and the local population seems difficult to find. This is also the case in the former fishing village of Barceloneta in Barcelona. 

Literally, it means ‘little Barcelona’. Located on the coast, the district was built in the 18th century on land reclaimed from the sea as part of Barcelona’s urban sprawl. It was a working-class neighbourhood for a long time and had its own dialect, the Barcelonetenc. However, from the 1960s and 1970s, more and more tourists came and things slowly started to change. 

“To remember is to resist” 

“To remember is to resist” is the title of a new photo exhibition about Barceloneta. This makes the visitor think back to the time when this characteristic neighbourhood in Barcelona was not yet overrun by tourists. 

A neighbourhood full of memories 

The exhibition tries to answer the question “What is a neighbourhood?” based on testimonials from residents who have allowed the camera in their private spaces. The aim is to approach the uniqueness of the neighbourhood through the specifics of each house. 

Also read: Residents of Barceloneta protest against drunken tourists 

Cogesa Expats

The exhibition takes as its starting point the concept of “souvenir”, a passing memory based on cliché and superficiality. Curated by Alba Sueiro, the expo seeks to build a sense of ownership and identity in an area where globalisation creates problems such as real estate speculation and mass tourism. In this way, the restoration of historical memory through every personal memory becomes an act of resistance. 

The exhibition is complemented by an audiovisual piece about Barceloneta in which residents of the neighbourhood are interviewed. They talk about the Barceloneta that existed before tourism and that of today. 

A call for awareness 

The exhibition “Remembering is Resisting” wants to make us realise that before tourism there was also a city and that Barceloneta was a neighbourhood before mass tourism turned it into a ‘souvenir’. It is a call for awareness of the impact tourism can have on local communities. The exhibition also draws the visitor’s attention to the importance of preserving the uniqueness and history of a neighbourhood. 

The exhibition is on view at Casa de la Barceloneta until June 3. 

Baycrest Wealth

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