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AFTER BURYING

TENDERNESS

'After burying tenderness' (Tras enterrar la ternura. Valencia, 2023-ongoing) documents Spain's post-Civil War stolen baby cases through the lens of the Navarro Amador family's search for their twin brother, who they suspect was snatched at birth in their hometown, Valencia.

Their story begins with Concha’s fifth pregnancy, where the gynaecologist repeatedly denied she was pregnant with twins. On July 8, 1977, during the birth, a different medical team was present. Ferran was born healthy, and Concha was sedated. What followed was the birth of another child, whose reported death occurred due to a cord complication.

The family's suspicions grew over the years due to the irregularities in their case. They discovered that the midwife present during the birth had been linked to several illegal adoption cases, prompting them to investigate. Last year their case was part of a joint lawsuit; with several other ‘stolen babies’ victims. They are hoping to be granted permission to exhume the supposed burial site of the second child, seeking a potential (or lack of) DNA match.

 

This project was made possible thanks to Memorizate, a platform which seeks to empower a group of young people into preservers and promoters of Spanish democratic memory. I was invited into the Navarro Amador family's life, living with them, conducting interviews, and documenting their journey. The goal was to capture their emotional struggles, the challenges of confronting a painful past, and their unwavering determination to uncover the truth.

Through my work, I aim to present a compassionate portrayal of their family's story, as their mother Concha turns 82 this year and Puy, the youngest sister, leads the search for Ferran’s twin. The project aims to serve as a reflection on the impact of Spain's stolen babies phenomenon, through the family's experiences and memories. It raises questions about the practices of the past and the role of institutions, such as the church, in events that have haunted generations. It highlights the influence of the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship decades after these events, and the consequences of the Pact of Forgetting (Pacto del Olvido, 1977) as it invites us to reflect on the broader societal impact of the stolen babies' phenomenon around the world.

The title, "After Burying Tenderness," is a nod to Maria Beneyto, a revered Valencian poet and author. It underscores the depth of emotion and the enduring quest for answers that define the Navarro family's story.

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'After Burying Tenderness' is an ongoing project that has started in September 2023, Valencia.

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