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Photo exhibition captures Catalonia during first months of the pandemic

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‘Catalunya any 0. Veure el virus’ (Catalonia Year 0. See the Virus), opens at Palau Robert this week, coinciding with the first anniversary of its closure due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Displaying the work of photojournalist Jordi Borràs, the exhibition explores the impact of Covid-19 on the region of Catalonia during the onset of the pandemic.

Borràs, who specialises in social documentary photography, travelled throughout the region between March and June of 2020, capturing scenes of isolation and intensity that were lived during this destabilising time.

Curated by the director of LA MIRA magazine, Francisco Canosa, the exhibition presents a compilation of Borràs’ work along two conceptual lines – La Catalunya buida (‘Empty Catalonia’), and La Catalunya plena (‘Full Catalonia’).

The exhibition at the Palau Robert.

‘Empty Catalonia’ captures the region in confinement – photos depicting monumental and historical areas, beaches, and streets – all completely deserted. The images of desolate landscapes, the likes of which had never been seen before, are now part of the collective memory of those Spring months of confinement.

In contrast, ‘Full Catalonia’ portrays the intensity of the experience in places such as hospitals and funeral homes. With a particular focus on frontline workers, Borràs’ work captures the determination and bravery of health professionals, firefighters, members of the media, among others, at the beginning of the pandemic.

Almost a year since Covid-19 began to change the reality of our lives, the exhibition invites the viewer to reflect on the hardship and endurance faced during the first months of the pandemic. The reality now, compared to then, is that there is hope that this challenging time in our history is soon to pass. 

‘Catalunya any 0. Veure el virus’ runs from 2 March until 25 April at Palau Robert, Passeig de Gràcia 107, Barcelona. Entrance is free. 


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