The Future of Catalonia’s Casteller

Posted on December 2, 2013


As I open my month-long show Catalonia’s Castellers, at the Oakwood Public Library today, it brings back fond memories of things that happened that I can never immortalize in images.  As I have once said before, I went home with about 120 Gig of images and it was painful to choose one over the other.  Some of the ones that have touched me most were hard to recreate if there was no story to go with it.  I thought I’d share one today.

As I was standing by the heat of watching the Castellers de Vilafranca at Festa major de la Bisbal del Penedès, last August 2012,  a man who introduced himself as  Jeroen,  approached me because of the camera I carried.  I guess the massive long lens does merit attention and we had a lengthy conversation of what Castellers was all about.  Before we parted ways, he invited me and my friend Manel, to watch them at their rehearsals.  It was a chance that I would not miss.  And I am glad that I didn’t as it was one with the priceless memories that I keep today.

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The day of the rehearsal finally came and we went about the building dedicated solely for the tradition of the Casteller.  There was a thick crowd of both participants and spectators like me.  It was like watching the main event itself.  As I was milling about trying to find interesting things to take pictures of, one little boy caught my eye.  As most of them are doing, it was the camera that he was most curious about.  He would furtively look at me and went about his way, always checking if I am still following him around with my camera.  It seemed like he was quietly telling me to take pictures of his attempts of being an anxaneta.  He could be no more than 5 years old and I found out later from his mom that he was almost four.  I found it too cute as he tried to put on his helmet, refusing help to show how big a boy he was.  And then he was suddenly in a conversation with an adult, probably a matter-of-factly saying he wants to climb to the top like the best anxaneta around.  I wished then I could understand Catalan.  After the conversation was through, he swiftly climbs the back of whom I assumed was his father and then both turned around and he gave me a smile and a wave that the tower is complete just like a very well-trained anxaneta.  It was the moment when I realized that I don’t need words to communicate.

It literally broke my heart that I did not choose this one to be exhibited with the rest the curated images but I thought I’d immortalize it in a blog post.  Through that little boy, I know the future of Catalonia’s Castellers remain steadfast and strong.  I know one day, he would be the one on top Castellers de Vilafranca Castell.  There is no doubt about that.

See the rest of the curated images this month starting today.

Banner Ann

Catalonia’s Castellers

December 2 – 31, 2013

Oakwood Village Library and Arts Centre, 341 Oakwood Ave., Toronto, ON M6E 2W1

Library Hours:
Branch Hours Opening Time Closing Time
Monday 10:00 a.m. 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday 12:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.
Thursday 12:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m.
Sunday Closed