Some time ago in Jiwar, by Allison Brown

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When I arrived at Jiwar it was the first time I’d ever been in the country and sitting on my bed that first night, in this beautiful patterned space, I had a strong sensation that I knew no one in the entire country.  Mireia (director and founder of Jiwar) took me in.  Her and the other residents welcomed me warmly.  The first night the other residents and I went to a small/crowded restaurant and we talked and laughed.  These types of outings and conversations continued.  I was so young and being with other artists in this environment Mireia had established, was both warm and creative.  It was amazing to me just out of art school place where people lived and worked as artists and writers and discussed the intricacies of creating and it’s varying processes.  Being around artists ahead of me in their careers was invaluable as I could see clearer what it could look like to work as an artist. In these three weeks had a strong desire to live in Barcelona and be apart of the creative process here. I was inexplicably drawn to this place.  Jiwar was my first home.  Over the next couple years as I was back and forth I lived in almost every room and met tons and tons of artists, writers and activists from all over the world.  I became personally aware of issues i’d only heard about on the news.  Places became faces and “issues” became discussions by those personally affected.  Jiwar was my first contact with the city, Mireia and Ahmed and their children have become like my family.  Every time I’m on Carrer d’Astúries I feel very much at home, more than any other place in the city.

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