A history book of graffiti
You are a Mother of brick
Divided you stand between
Separating time from love
Place from exodus
Torn and crumbling
Beauty and hate
Your skin reveals
Skeleton and heart.”
For me, the wall says it all and well represents the theme of this week’s Photo Challenge, “Transmogrify.” But there are many layers to this wall and its history.
Layer on top of this graffiti and more graffiti, and it changes. But for me, the real transformation comes alive when you look at the building buttressed next to it with the eight-pointed star and consider the history of the neighbourhood. The eight-pointed star is the Rub el Hizb, a Muslim symbol which in this case speaks to the Moorish occupation of Iberia (Spain) for some 700 years and before Spain was “reconquered” and reunited in 1492 with the fall of Granada — yes, the same year Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But just as telling and that which completes the history of “transmogrification” is that 1492 is also the year of Alhambra Decree, a disgraceful moment of European and Spanish antisemitism. As you can read on Wikipedia:
The Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion) was an edict issued on 31 March 1492, by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) ordering the expulsion of practicing Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year. The primary purpose was to eliminate their influence on Spain’s large converso population and ensure they did not revert to Judaism.
It is this ‘little’ fact that brings the history of this building and the plaque into perspective. Isabella, who was given the title “Servant of God” as a result of a canonical review in 1974, and who is much revered in history for many good works and acts including the generous funding of Columbus’ expedition, was able to “donate” this land to an order of Dominican nuns because she had already expelled the Jewish inhabitants 4 years earlier with the Alhambra decree. And, so, in 1551, the real ‘transmogrification’ continued when the building was remodelled, stripped of much of its history and the fact that it was part of Seville’s Jewish Quarter, and provided the entrance (seen below) in 1590, replete with Dominican shield. Yes, and to complete the history lesson, Isabella is also the monarch that launched the Spanish Inquisition, largely at the behest of the Dominicans who had Judaism as one of their primary targets.
Mother of Walls, indeed ….
All text and photography © Dale Schierbeck
See more of others’ submissions to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge on “Transmogrify.”
… and more Poetry from EatsWritesShoots here.