The Xunta will bring together key works of Galician culture never before exhibited in Galicia for the first major exhibition of the Xacobeo

  • “Galicia, un relato en el mundo” (Galicia, a story in the world) will be curated by Manuel Gago and can be visited at the City of Culture between November 8 and April 12, 2020
  • It will allow you to contemplate 300 pieces, some of them very symbolic, such as “El Libro das Invasións”, one of the founding works of Irish mythology which contains the first known mention of the legendary character of Breogán.
  • The exhibition will also bring for the first time to Galicia the Sawley Map, one of the oldest encyclopaedic world maps in Europe and where the Cathedral of Santiago appears as the most important building on the continent
  • The Conselleiro of Culture highlighted the dimension of a sample which will bring together works from prestigious institutions such as the Vatican Library, Trinity College, the University of Cambridge or the National Museum of Archaeology of Portugal

Santiago de Compostela, 22 July 2019

The Conselleiro of Culture and Tourism, Román Rodríguez, announced today that the Museo Centro Gaiás in the City of Culture will inaugurate on 8 November “Galicia, a story in the world”, the first major international exhibition of Xacobeo 2021, a project which addresses international relations and the role of Galicia in the history of the world from prehistory to the present day.

Among the more than 300 pieces that this ambitious exhibition will put on display, the Conselleiro advanced that works which have never before been exhibited in Galicia, works which possess a high symbolic value and that are essential to understand Galician culture and identity in the international historical framework can be contemplated.

In this sense, he advanced that the Xunta have just reached an agreement with Trinity College Dublin for the Book of Invasions to leave Ireland for the first time, a work which contains the first known mention of Breogán, the legendary character who sighted Ireland from the lighthouse of Brigantia (city traditionally identified by historians as A Coruña) and a prominent figure in the Galician Hymn itself, which points out Galicia as the Home of Breogán. The Book of Invasions is part of the Book of Leinster, one of the main compilations of Irish medieval literature, and, influenced by biblical, and mythological sources as well as by Christian authors, it tells the story of the invasion of Ireland by different peoples including the conquerors from Brigantia.

Similarly, Mr. Rodríguez reported a loan agreement had been signed with the Cambridge University-Parker Library under which you can contemplate, also for the first time in Galicia, the Sawley Map. Considered one of the first European encyclopaedic world maps, from the time of the Pórtico de la Gloria (12th century), the work represents the Cathedral of Santiago as the most important building in Europe, illustrating it in greater size than the Basilica of Rome. This gives a very precise idea of the relevance of Compostela during an era known as the Compostelana Era, a period of special cultural, economic and institutional flourishing.

The announcement that these works will travel to Galicia comes after it was confirmed that the exhibition will exhibit two Calixtin codices: that of the Vatican Library and that of the University of Salamanca, and that it will also feature the Vatican Songbook, which next to the Ajuda Songbook and the Songbook of the National Library of Lisbon will constitute the most valuable corpus of the Portuguese Galician medieval lyric.

Among many other pieces, this cultural project will offer the possibility of also contemplating the Exeria Itinerary, a manuscript from the Arezzo Library in Italy which tells about the pilgrimage of this Galician-Roman aristocrat, considered the first known writer of the Iberian Peninsula. Next to it will be the warrior of Lesenho, a central piece to understand the Iron Age in the northwest of the Peninsula, provided by the National Museum of Archaeology of Portugal.

Loaned by 80 institutions

The presentation of Galicia, a story in the world took place this morning at an event at the Centro Gaiás Museum chaired by the Conselleiro of Culture and Tourism and attended by Rosario Álvarez, the president of the Galician Culture Council, collaborating institution of the exhibition, and the curator of the exhibition, Manuel Marine Gago. The announcement was also supported by the presence of the dean of the Cathedral of Santiago, Según Pérez; the general director of Cultural Policies, Anxo Lorenzo; the managing director of the City of Culture, Ana Isabel Vázquez, and the scientific advisory committee of the entire exhibition.

"The trust placed by these prestigious institutions, allowing us to exhibit works of incalculable value, both material and symbolic, demonstrates once again the rigour transmitted by Galicia and its institutions in the international context", stressed the Conselleiro of Culture and Tourism, who said that the exhibition will bring together works on loan from about 80 cultural institutions and private collections, both in Europe and America and of course the rest of Spain and Galicia.

Román Rodríguez advanced that the negotiations continue and that, throughout the next months, new works of enormous transcendence in the history of Galicia will be made public whose loans are being finalised with some of the most prestigious libraries and museums in the world. In a special way, he emphasised the relevance of Latin America within the discourse of the exhibition, with works that will be released soon.

Curator and scientific committee

The exhibition, curated by professor, journalist and disseminator Manuel Gago Marino, explores the deep connection of Galician historical territory with other countries, breaking with the myth of isolation and periphery, and highlighting its international impact. "In a journey that takes us from prehistory to the present day, the exhibition is structured around the myths, history, memories and lives of Galicians in different eras and geographical contexts," explained the curator.

Together with the curator, the scientific committee of the exhibition is made up of José Miguel Andrade Cernadas, lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC); Beatriz Comendador Rey, lecturer in Prehistory at the University of Vigo and member of the Archaeology, Antiquity and Territory Study Group (GEAAT); José Manuel Costa García, lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the USC; Emilio Grandío Seoane, lecturer in Contemporary History at the USC; Juan Manuel Monterroso Montero, director of the Department of Art History at the USC; and Rafael Rodríguez Martínez, archaeologist at the Pontevedra Provincial Council. In addition, the project counts on the special advice in the area of Emigration of Pilar Cagiao, Professor of American History at the University of Santiago de Compostela. The Consello da Cultura Galega also collaborates with specialised advice and the loan of various funds linked to the Galician diaspora and emigration. The General Secretariat for Emigration is also collaborating on this project.

An interactive journey

Issues such as cultural and artistic trends, political transformations, the influence of historical communication channels such as the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, large migratory movements and the internationalisation of the Galician economy will be very present in the exhibition, where technology will also play an important role.

“Galicia, a story in the world” is based on the idea of exploration on the part of the users who, through graphic and interactive assembly solutions, decide at each moment how much information they want to receive. Technologies such as motion and presence sensors, immersive systems, interactive projections and augmented reality will have an outstanding weight in the construction of the exhibition narration.