Today, Gabriela would have celebrated her 41 years old. On behalf of all your friends and fans, dear sister, I wish you a great birthday. We all miss you. We feel blessed to follow your path, reading your great novels.
In addition, we are particularly touched by the tragic events which stroke Paris yesterday. You used to live close to ‘Place de la Republique’, where took place several of the attacks. I am sure you would have been part of the first artists and intellectuals denouncing these bloody attacks against France, and more generally freedom and peace.
We are part of your fight and will never bow to the terror, dictatorship and ignominy.
Winter is at its peak in Buenos Aires. Being pregnant (now, it is official!), I have time to re-read my sister’s books. After several private messages about ‘Verdades’ (thank you all!), I decided to begin with this novel.
Gabriela got the renowned ‘Premio Literario Buenos Aires’ in 2000, notably for her powerful vision and style in ‘Verdades’. I should also say that her political way, deep and subtle, is really strong. She set the whole plot in an unexisting country (Tambia) but was very inspired by her trip to Central African Republic, as her readers know.
On the contrary to her, I never visited Africa but felt very close to the people and landscapes she described. I also felt quite frightened by the social threat of witchcraft in some African regions. It is beyond imagination. Actually, I felt in her novels some unconscious streams, showing parallels between witchcraft in Africa and dictatorship in Argentina.
Re-reading ‘Verdades’, I also realized I got the opportunity to travel to 2 great locations thanks to Gabriela: Antarctica and Paris. These are wonderful gifts from her. Maybe one day I will go to Africa as well.
A reading of excerpts of Gabriela’s posthumous novel will take place next week at the ‘Cite Internationale des Arts’ in Paris.
Her posthumous novel, entitled ‘Vivre’, was written in French. It was interrupted by Gabriela’s death in February 2010. It should be published in 2016 after a long process for a proper reference edition.
I am back to Buenos Aires, after 3 wonderful weeks spent in France, my mother’s country. The trip was amazing. I feel closer to my biological family, now.
The Tribute Exhibition and opening were incredible moments, that I have shared with my husband Leonardo, as well as many people who were friends or acquaintances of Gabriela, and whom I didn’t know.
I have been very moved by their testimonies and signs of friendship. I have been especially happy to meet two members of the ‘2048 Expedition’, with whom my sister lived her great adventure in Antarctica: Olivier Bertin and Adrien Moyaert. Thank you all, especially The City Hall of Paris’ 10th arrondissement and Agathe Simon for having organized this great event!
During the opening, a video has been directed by Agathe Simon. I wish to share it with you today.
Tonight on the French Radio (Radio France), a radio play celebrates my sister Gabriela Conti. Unfortunately, there will be no Spanish version, only French.
This radio show by Agathe Simon is based on an original idea by Guillaume Sauvage, a French writer whom my sister met in Paris in 2008 during a dinner at their publisher, Claudine Beal. Then, my sister visited Guillaume in Peru and experienced an Ayahuasca ceremony.
The radio show will be broadcast today at 11PM, meaning 7PM in Buenos Aires. Click here to listen to it online.
I am proud to announce an Art Exhibition dedicated to my sister Gabriela Conti will soon be held in Paris.
This exhibition by Agathe Simon will be her first Homage Exhibition in France. My documentary ‘Antarctica, Looking for Gabriela’ and a series of 6 photographs I have shot in Antarctica (‘Homenage a Gabriela’) are part of this project. The opening (by invitation) will take place in Paris on February the 9th, 2015, exactly 5 years after Gabriela’s tragical death in Antarctica.
For this very event, I am pleased to fly to France. This will be my first time in my mother’s country. I am very impatient to live this great experience, accompanied by my husband Leonardo.
Antarctica Exhibition (Tribute to Gabriela Conti)
February 10th-28th, 2015
City Hall of 10th District
72 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010 Paris, France
If you would like to be invited to this special event and to celebrate the memory of Gabriela Conti, feel free to reach me. Please specify if you knew Gabriela and/or her work.
Here is a 3mn excerpt of my 52mn documentary ‘Antarctica, Looking for Gabriela’. In February 2013, I went to Antarctica in order to shoot this film, following the traces of my sister Gabriela during the ‘2048 Expedition’.
The French Institute of Algiers is currently programming an exhibition dedicated to my sister Gabriela Conti. My documentary ‘Antarctica, Looking for Gabriela’ and a series of 6 photographs I have shot in Antarctica (‘Homenage a Gabriela’) are part of this exhibition.
The opening is tonight, 6PM. I won’t be present as I am unable to leave Buenos Aires at this period. But if you wish to visit it, this Homage Exhibition will take place in Algiers until October the 23rd, 2014.
Here is a photograph of Gabriela Conti. It was taken by Olivier Bertin, a French astrophysicist who is a colleague and friend of Jules Nancy, Gabriela’s husband. It takes place in Marambio base, in the Antarctic Peninsula, the day before ‘2048 Expedition’ begins.
I am currently working on the photographs I have taken in Antarctica. A lot of work. As my friends ask me often to show a sample of my work, I post today a first image of my project. These are air bubbles which have been confined in the ice sometimes for the last tens of thousands of years, sometimes hundreds of thousands of years. I have photographed these air bubbles on Potter Cove, evoking the fragility of life, as a tribute to Gabriela. Separated by dictatorship, we have never met.
The life on Carlini Base is amazing. A special mixture of army rules (fixed schedule) and wild adventure (being in the middle of nowhere). We went yesterday on Fourcade Glacier for a ride on the ice with snowmobiles.
I am not sure to write a lot on my blog while being here. As I have a lot to experience and accomplish.
My art project is doing well. I work on the air bubbles captured in the ice. I have filmed some Gentoo Penguins yesterday. I think the Internet connection is OK today, in order I can post a pic.
Tonight, we party with the scientists and soldiers of the base: Argentinian pizza and asado!
On February the 9th, I have been unable to post something about the anniversary of Gabriela’s death. Because the Internet connection was out of order.
In the meanwhile, I have worked on my art project here, as a director and photographer. My tribute to Gabriela. I have lately shot these amazing Sea Elephants, which were on the shore, at the foot of Fourcade glacier.
I write this post from Carlini Base, in Antarctica, thanks to a limited Internet connection. I won’t be able to post any of my photographs, only these few words.
I feel very moved to be in the very place where was my sister Gabriela Conti, before the departure of the ‘2048 Expedition’.
The weather is really bad today, and the sea rough. We will celebrate tonight the 4 years of the arrival at South Pole of the expedition. On February the 9th, we will celebrate the 4 years of the death of Gabriela.
I am very moved today to share with you some family archives I have just received. Jules Nancy, Gabriela’s widower, has just sent them here, thanks to a friend of him who was traveling to Argentina.
Less than 3 months after having discovered my true identity, I can finally watch and touch these objects and pictures, which belong to my real family: the French maternal family (Duval, from Paris) and the Argentinian paternal family (Conti, from Córdoba).
I have taken these precious objects in picture yesterday. A lot of documents are quite old. Gabriela kept them when she left Argentina during the economical crisis.
Now, I know the past. Which I keep vivid inside me. These objects belong to my family. To have them with me (before sending them back to France for an upcoming exhibition) allows me to feel my roots and to believe in my future.
Today is Gabriela’s birthday. She would have had 39 years. Here is a short presentation of her life.
Gabriela Conti (1974 – 2010) is a key figure of early 21st Century literature. Of French-Argentine nationality, she was honoured by Premio Literario Buenos Aires in 2000 and awarded the Grand prix de littérature contemporaine in 2001.
Her family history is one punctuated by exile. In 1943, her mother’s parents fled Nazi France and settled in Buenos Aires. In 1978, Gabriela was sent to Paris to escape from Argentinian dictatorship, after her mother was kidnapped.
Besides her novels, Gabriela Conti is well known for her adventures throughout the world, notably in Central African Republic, Peru and Papua New Guinea.
In 2009, she was a member of ‘2048 Expedition’, in Antarctica. On February the 7th, 2010, two days before her tragic death, she became the first woman from Argentine nationality to reach South Pole. She leaves behind no trace no body.
It was under the Argentinian dictatorship. I was 5. I was living in the Barrio of Villa Crespo. At that time, my name was Gloria Medina. I was a beautiful fairy, but everything was fake: my parents, my identity, my name, my story.
I am very moved by this picture. Gabriela is almost 3. It is in October 1977, under the Argentinian dictatorship. The photograph is Javier, Gabriela’s father. It takes place in the kitchen of the family house in Nicaragua Street, Buenos Aires (Barrio de Palermo). Soon before, our mother was kidnapped. Soon after, Gabriela was sent in exile in Paris.
Today, I wish to share 2 pictures of the year 1980.
These two little girls photographed in 1980 were sisters. One was living in Argentina, the other in France. Because of a dictatorship, they never got the chance to meet.
The first picture is me, in 1980. I am almost 3. The place is a vacation house close to Mar del Plata. At that time, my name was Gloria Medina. During the next 30 years, I have been fully unaware that my ‘parents’, Juana and Ramiro Medina, were close collaborators of Argentinian dictatorship, and responsible for my mother’s death and my sister’s exile. I was raised as a single child.
The second picture is Gabriela, in 1980. She is almost 6. The place is a vacation house in France, in ‘Ardeche’ region. At that time, Gabriela was in exile, raised by our maternal aunt as a single child.
On July the 25th, I went to the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of May Square). On September the 29th, I discovered my new identity.
It’s all very confusing and I have a strange feeling. I’m not the one I was. It will take time to understand it all, and especially to take everything that happened to me.
Thank you Gabriela for doing the DNA test. It is through this that I found out you were my sister, and a new life begins for me.