Home > Details - Exhibition “Josep Narro. Drawing the naked truth of the Roussillon camps, 1939-1941”

Museu Memorial de l'Exili


Exhibition “Josep Narro. Drawing the naked truth of the Roussillon camps, 1939-1941”
15.11.2014 - 15.11.2014
Exposició Temporal Històric


Exhibition “Josep Narro. Drawing the naked truth of the Roussillon camps, 1939-1941”

Opening: Saturday 15th November 2015 at 13h

Exhibition from 15 November 2014 to 5 april 2015

The Exile Memorial Museum in La Jonquera (MUME) will exhibit a series of unseen drawings made by Josep Narro during his stay in different internment camps in France after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Committed to the defeated Republic, Josep Narro was forced to go into exile.

During his stay in the Roussillon concentration camps, Josep Narro made a large number of drawings and sketches reflecting their atmosphere and daily life: the gendarmes, the gardes mobiles, the French colonial troops and the refugees sheltered, sleepy, bored, sick or doing some of the few activities available in the camp. Landscapes full of solitude, sadness and penury are made visible through the lines of Josep Narro. And amidst these daily scenes in the camps, one of the most moving series features drawings of children interned at the Argelès-sur-mer camp hospital; sick and dying infants that pay witness to the harshness of internment in the first months of 1939.

This collection of over 100 drawings illustrating Josep Narro's time in the camps of Argelès-sur-mer, Le Barcarès, Les Haras (Perpignan) and Agde is a unique testimony, of great artistic quality and ethical value. José Narro drew the suffering in the camps, above all of helpless infants, weakened by the infamous conditions of internment, as no one had done before. This exhibition helps shed light on this illustrator who has left us a unique legacy on the experience of internment. The presentation of this exhibition is a real labour of memory, in the sense that it recovers unseen works and is also a moving tribute to the thousands of refugees from 1939. Art and memory are fused in the work of Josep Narro so that they have now become an essential tool of awareness-raising in terms of the preservation of human and children's rights.

Josep Narro Celorrio (Barcelona, 1902 - Guadalajara, Mexico, 1994) was a sketch artist and illustrator trained in Barcelona and in Paris. Endowed with great expressivity, he became well-known as an illustrator. He published comic strips in L'Esquella de la Torratxa and illustrated children's and educational books, including La conquesta de València (1932), Les victòries de Roger de Llúria (1932), by Melcior Font, and Rondalles populars (1933), by V. Serra i Boldú. Josep Narro was a member of the Union of Professional Sketch Artists. After the Spanish Civil War he went into exile and spent two years in the Roussillon concentration camps, until 1941. In 1941 he returned to Catalonia and worked for the editor Janés i Oliver and the publishing house Editorial Joventut.

His "second exile" in Mexico was due to the repressive Francoist regime and the asphyxiating cultural, social and working life in post-war Catalonia. In 1952, with the help of the Mexican Embassy in Portugal, he managed to reach Mexico. There he reconstructed his life and continued with his professional activity. Josep Narro never returned to Catalonia. Anticlerical and a freethinker, he lived for some years in Mexico City (Juanacatlán Street) and in 1960 moved to Guadalajara (Jalisco), where he lived until his death in 1994, at the age of 92.

In 1962, Josep Narro was recognised at the International Editors Congress held in Barcelona as Best Illustrator in Latin America.



Consortiu of MUME

Council of Elna


Supported by:

López-Campà Family (La Jonquera)

Conséil Général des Pyrénées-Orientales

Casa de la Generalitat de Catalunya (Perpinyà)

With the collaboration of:

Diputació de Girona