Celebrating Spanish culture

The Spanish embassy in Windhoek is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the circumnavigation of the world with maritime exhibitions, a conference and a guitar concert.

16 August 2019 | Cultural

Evany van Wyk

The Embassy of Spain in Namibia, together with the Lüderitz Maritime Museum and the Scientific Society of Swakopmund, are commemorating the fifth centenary of the first circumnavigation of the world this month.

The Magellan and Elcano expedition sailed from Seville, Spain, in 1519 under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, in search of a maritime path to East Asia through the Americas and across the Pacific Ocean.

The celebration will be taking place in Windhoek and Swakopmund. Various objects related to the first circumnavigation of the world will be on display. According to Antonio Javier Romera Pintor, the ambassador of Sapin in Namibia, the main challenge was to organize the logistics of bringing to Windhoek the objects of the private collection of Dr. Tordesillas to be exhibited at the National Art Gallery of Namibia. “The collaboration of Dr. Jeremy Silvester from the Museums Association of Namibia (MAN) has been of the essence in organizing the exhibition of the "Àngel Tordesillas collection,” said Pintor.

These include maps, navigation tools from the 16th and 17th centuries, books, commemorative coins and medals. Five scale models of the Magellan and Elcano expedition ships will also feature in this exhibit.

No celebration is complete without entertainment and to this end, the Embassy of Spain organised a classical guitar concert by Spanish musician Rafael Serrallet. He will play pieces by the most famous Spanish composers, such as Enrique Granados, Joaquin Rodrigo and Julian Arcas. Serrallet’s career spans over 25 years and more than 80 countries, having performed in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, including New York’s Lincoln Center. One of the main tasks of my Embassy in Namibia is to promote a better understanding between our two peoples and respective governments. “In my view, to organize cultural acts which are open to the interaction with civil society actors and representatives, would indeed be instrumental to that objective,” said Pintor.

The exhibitions started on 12 August in Windhoek at the National Art Gallery of Namibia and will continue until 17 August. These events bear great importance in both the history of mankind scientific knowledge, and the development of safe trade sea lanes according to Pintor. “It might be worth having in mind that at the time, 16th century, no one amongst the scholars and learned public doubted that the earth was round, a sphere,” he added.

The first concert took place in Swakopmund at the Museum Lecture Hall on 14 August. At the same venue a conference is set to take place on 27 August from 18:00, after which the final exhibition will be open every day from 10:00 to 17:00 until 10 September.

T he conference will be led by Dr Angel Tordesillas, the chairman of the Lüderitz Waterfront Development Company and coordinator of the National Maritime Museum. “I would like to underline the excellent collaboration offered by the University of Namibia, the Museums Association of Namibia, the National Art Gallery of Namibia, the Scientific Society Swakopmund and the Swakopmund Museum,” Pintor concluded.

Entrance prices are as follows:

Adults: N$30

Students and pensioners: N$25

Children/students: N$10

Adult groups of 10: N$25 per person School groups: N$5 per student (one teacher gets free entry for every 10 paying students)

Caption1-Representatives of the Embassy of Spain in Namibia with classical guitarist Rafael Serrallet at the concert on 14 August.

Caption 2-Only one vessel, the “Victoria” was able to complete the first Circumnavigation of the Globe; after nearly 40 000 miles and it took 3 years.

Photo: Contributed

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