06 Nov Latécoère-Aéropostale Raid: Lifes Lines
BANGKOK – MAROC
6 November 2018
In 1918, the aeroplane manufacturer Pierre-Georges Latécoère formulated an audacious project: to link France, Africa and America by air: “I have done all calculation again: our idea is unrealisable. There is only one thing left for us to do: to realise it!” he said at the time.
Thus was created the compagnie Générale Aéropostale, the first transcontinental connection. The aircrafts transported mail, considered by this humanist as a bridge between humans, a triumph over space and time. Among the pilots, featured legendary names: Mermoz, Guillaumet, Saint-Exupéry.
A century later, the Aéropostale evokes the exploits told by Saint-Exupéry in his book Night Flight, Moors tribes holding the aviators hostage after a forced landing, fraternity between those
pilots who performed flights, which could be fatal, together.
Nowadays, the Latécoère-Aéropostale Raid is the longest air raid in the world. 60 aircraft including 10 “historic aircraft” link the 3 continents.
Created in 2008, the organisation extends the work of the pioneers by transmitting over 18,000 kilometres the values of daring and sharing. It carries out projects for the rapprochement of cultures, contributes to Francophonie visibility and works for including the Ligne on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
This year, for the centenary, each aircraft will be covered with peace messages of personalities from around the world on their fuselage and a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on their empennage.
In the early 20th century, Djibrail Nazare-Aga had flown the famous Breguet XIV with Saint-Exupéry. His grandson, Arnaud Nazare-Aga, is an artist living in Thailand. This unexpected connection with the author of Wind, Sands and Stars spurred the sculptor to create a series of works inspired by Saint-Exupéry’s watercolour illustrations in celebration of the 75 years of The Little Prince. Each of them is crafted, with multiple layers of varnish applied before being hand-polished. The sculptures are designed to be touched, so they are accessible to the visually impaired. One of them, untitled “The Messenger of the Stars”, is displayed at the Alliance française during the Bangkok Art Biennale.
“I created this sculpture in memory of the Ligne pilots. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a station manager at Cape Juby in Southern Morocco, in the present city of Tarfaya. One of my sculptures, “The Wisdom of the Sands” almost identical to the one displayed at the Alliance, will be placed there and unveiled on the 3rd of October in the museum bearing his name,” the artist explains.
The Little Prince stands, wearing his scarf flying in the wind, the red colour of which relating to the colour of the official Latécoère line envelope. The fox is on his side, as the symbol of friendship between the heroic Aéropostale pilots. Both of them are on the top of five postal mail envelopes, which are reproductions of original letters transported by airplane. All this on a base evoking a cabin of the time.