PTPI Angoulême, France
PTPI's Angoulême Chapter
PTPI's Angoulême chapter emerged from the fussion of two chapters: PTPI's Angoulême Chapter and PTPI's Poitiers Chapter, headed by Mr. Paul Militon and Ms. Annick Debien respectively. The two chapters were very active and took part in trips to the USA, Japan, as well as hosted many participants from the Student Ambassador Program. PTPI´s Saint-Auvent Chapter, created in 2003, joined the Angoulême Chapter in 2005.
In January 2001, as a Youth Coordinator for PTPI European Council, Annick Debien and PTPI's Angoulême Chapter organized a successful meeting of 30 young cartoonists from 9 European countries during the International Cartoonist Festival in Angoulême.
In 2001 the PTPI European Conference took place in Angoulême, with more than 130 participants.
Today the chapter actively participates in artistic programs in cooperation with other chapters all over the world. The nature of the projects is mainly artistic: art is a wonderful mean to foster a better international understanding and this is one of People to People International's main aims.
The purpose to get involved in the Artistic Program is to build links among contemporary artists from different countries and to initiate artistic workshops. Several chapter members were already involved in artistic activities and had the opportunity to hold exhibitions in a such special location as the Saint-Auvent's castle.
During the past PTPI conference in Baveno, Annick Debien and Graziella Quéron met Mrs. Moldoi Bayanjargal, President of the PTPI's Niislel Ulaanbaatar Chapter and came up with a wonderful idea: an exhibition of Mongol artists in Saint-Auvent's castle. The preparatory work started in October. The fruits of this effort constitute the basis of the Chapter's Summer Program.
Le Vent Mongol: Exhibition of Mongolian artists
From July 29th to September 2nd 2006 PTPI's Angoulême Chapter organised the exhibition "Le Vent Mongol" in the very old castle of Saint-Auvent (France, department of Haute-Vienne, 35km from Limoges).
This exhibition (www.chateaudesaintauvent.com) showed around 100 art works of 15 Mongolian artists.
Time and space impose limitations to people. However the need for "saying and expressing" of human beings is stronger and creating bridges between civilizations is essential. Artists have this amazing capacity to juggle with the centuries, to give us access to yesterday's civilisations through today's communication means. With the language of art, it is possible to outmatch time and space, which limit communication between civilisations. Eyes and ears let hearts speak.
This project was exactly what we wanted to realize when we (Annick Debien, Graziella Quéron and Bayanjargal Moldoi) met in Baveno in October 2004.
During two years we gathered the strength of the two chapters (Angoulême in France and Niislel in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) and worked really hard on this project. This partnership gave birth to a marvellous exhibition, which shows, how artists coming from a very far country and a very different culture can work today, and express our common contemporary surrounding. It was also an opportunity to discover how people are very close to each other jumping over the boarders with the new means of communications.
Two hundred and fifty people attended the opening ceremony. We could share this great moment with Mr Altangerel, the Mongolian Ambassador in Paris, and Mary Eisenhower. Then more than 2500 people visited the exhibition!
Mary Eisenhower was cheerfully welcome by the Lord Mayor of Saint-Auvent, Mr. le sous-Préfet of Haute-Vienne and many authorities. She was officially invited by Mr. Richard Jezierski the director of the Museum of Remembrance and The Village of Remembrance of Oradour-sur-Glane. This village has been destroyed in June 1944 by the Nazis. All the women and the children of this village were burnt in the church and the men were shot against the walls of the houses. Mary Eisenhower met Mr. Marcel Darthout, one of the two rescaped men, and of course it was a very emotional moment. Mary could see how her grand's father was always very alive in all the memories. She really felt very proud to say that through her work and all PTPI's work, we enhance our motto: "peace through understanding".
Many articles in the newspapers related the visit of Mary in our region, and there was a photo of Mary visiting Oradour-sur-Glane on the first page of "Le Populaire" and interviews on TV.
This has been a great moment indeed. The joy to share the meals in the old yard of the castle protected by walls more that 900 years old, the pleasure to be together and the fun to hear from Pierre Debien, that Louis XIV's mistress Mme de Montespan had spent a night in this castle; all those souvenirs remain alive in our memories...
Angoulême - History
Angoulême (Iculisma) was taken by Clovis from the Visigoths in 507, and plundered by the Normans in the 9th century. In 1360 it was surrendered by the Treaty of Brétigny to the English; they were, however, expelled in 1373 by the troops of Charles V, who granted the town numerous privileges. It suffered much during the French Wars of Religion, especially in 1568 after its capture by the Protestants under Coligny.
Sights of Angoulême
In place of its ancient fortifications, Angoulême is encircled by boulevards known as the Remparts, from which fine views may be obtained in all directions. Within the town the streets are often dark and narrow, and, of most architectonical interest are the cathedral and the Hôtel de Ville.
The cathedral of St. Pierre, a church in the Byzantine-Romanesque style, dates from 11th and 12th centuries, but has undergone frequent restoration, and was partly rebuilt in the latter half of the 18th century by the architect Paul Abadie. The façade, flanked by two towers with cupolas, is decorated with arcades filled in with statuary and sculpture, the whole representing the Last Judgment. The crossing is surmounted by a dome, and the extremity of the north transept by a fine square tower over 160 ft. high.
The Hôtel de Ville, also by Abadie, is a handsome modern structure, but preserves two towers of the chateau of the counts of Angoulême, on the site of which it is built. It contains collections of paintings and archaeology.
Of course, Angoulême enjoys a purely international atmosphere when visitors from all around the world come to participate in the International Cartoonist Festival.