Archives for posts with tag: arte urbano Barcelona

This year’s Festa Major de Gràcia featured a new entry into the decorated streets: la Plaza del Poble Rumaní, the theme of which was one of the biggest cultural contributions from Gràcia’s vibrant gypsy community: la Rumba Catalana. While the decorations themselves had a difficult time competing with the more experienced streets, one feature which stood out from the rest was a huge mural which was painted on the wall of a neighboring school.

The mural is a collaboration between local schools, the local gypsy community, and the organization acidH (Catalan Association for Integration and Human Development). The three artists who participated are well-known in the Barcelona street art scene and this blog: Xupet Negre, Caesar Baetulo (sm172), and konair.

The images on the mural are a mix of the artists’ trademark characters and icons of Catalan culture.

 

Having a dog is a great excuse to get out and explore new areas of the city. My latest trips have taken me uphill, where the views of the city and the sea are marvelous, and there is also some nice street art hiding in the steep hills above the city.

The first few pictures come from the area near the Bunkers del Carmel, which served as the city’s defenses from fascist aerial attacks during the Spanish Civil War. The views are spectacular, and if you go during the week, you might be able to recapture some of the secluded off-the-beaten-track appeal. At the top of the hill you can find some walls which are painted with some murals, including one of the famous literary figure Don Quixote.

The rest of the photos are from the Vallcarca neighbourhood, which lies just next to Park Güell. This area is worth exploring as there are some interesting buildings and plazas, as well as some spectacular views of Barcelona spreading out toward the Mediterranean.

The dog days of summer are probably not the best time to explore this area as the sun seems to beat down a bit harder the higher you get, but a cloudy day in early autumn would be perfect for a climb, and besides, the pictures come out shadow-free on cloudy days.

Today’s shots come from the free walls at Tres Xemeneies, near Avinguda Paral·lel, some random wanderings through the neighbouring Raval, and a new location (at least for me): the Jardins de Walter Benjamin, which are just near the Port, and mark the last frontier before the city gives way to Montjuic Park. As suggested in the title, the “gardens” themselves are nothing to marvel at, but the walls, which separate them from the playground of a local school, are the main attraction.

The Raval was full of tributes to famous faces, among them Debbie Harry, Kafka, Dennis Rodman, the late Prince, Jesus Christ (by artist sm172), and Football Club Barcelona’s favourite tax-dodging wunderkind, Neymar Jr.

As my geo-tagging feature on my camera app has become a bit unpredictable with the latest android update, my locations aren’t quite a precise as before. That said, a good wander round the Raval/Poble Sec area does a body good!

 

Ever since the city council began its crackdown on antisocial behavior in 2006, finding examples of urban art in Barcelona has become increasingly difficult–to the point where nowadays when I go out wandering the city, it’s nearly impossible to find new work outside of the permitted places.

These shots come from one of those morning meanderings through the Raval and the Old City Centre. Finding a silver lining in this situation is about as difficult as the hunt for new art, but if I suppose the scarcity means that it’s much more satisfying when I do find something interesting.

Toward the end of August, as the traditional vacation month was reaching an end, I made my way down to the ever-changing street art site known as the Tres Xemeneies, which has become an outdoor canvas with the blessings of the city council. These can be found near the end of Parallel Avenue, just below the famous Apollo Disco and Theatre, and is hard to miss due to, as the name would suggest, the three huge smokestacks from the old electrical power plant, well-preserved reminders of Barcelona’s industrial past.

It’s now a park, which is more of a concrete than green space. As a result it has attracted its fair share of skaters who are perhaps looking for an alternative to the overcrowded plaza in front of the MACBA. The covered ampitheatre-like structure has been opened up after being fenced off for nearly a year, and has become home to two large murals, as well as a place to lay one’s head.

It seems to change quite frequently and is worth the trip if you don’t want to stray too far from the city center.

Over the last week or so, an army of small, simple figures have descended upon the neighbourhood of Gràcia. Many of them are decorated with hearts, ladders and euro symbols. After I placed a few of them on my instagram feed, a commentor informed me that they are the work of an Italian artist called exit enter. There isn’t much information, but after a bit of digging I managed to find a Pinterest board and a newspaper article/interview. From what I’ve been able to gather thanks to Chrome translate, the childlike simplicity of the work is far from accidental, and fits in very well with a message that seems highly critical of the frenetic, information-saturated, tech-dependent world. The balloons and ladders can provide us a means of escape to childlike lightness, an exit from the Huxley-esque dystopia of facebook feeds, twitter timelines and multi-tab web browsing.

Thanks for stopping by, Exit Enter, and I hope this isn’t your first visit to Barcelona.

Ada Colau

Ada Colau

Manuela Carmena

Manuela Carmena

This past 24 of May, autonomous communities and municipalities all over the Spanish state held elections. The excitement and anticipation were more than I’ve ever seen, and it actually seemed that many people really felt the importance and impact of their vote–something rare these days. The reason for this is the disillusion generated by the two main parties, the Partido Popular (center-right neo-liberal party) and the PSOE (center left, literally Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and the CiU (the now-separate Center-right coalition of the Democratic Convergence Party of Catalonia and Democratic Union of Catalonia) here in Catalonia–which stems from numerous corruption cases and a general perception disregard for their constituents.

The problem, until the 24 of May, was the lack of alternatives. In this last election, the anger which took root in the 15M movement as well as other social activism finally took shape in parties like Podemos, Barcelona en Comú (formerly Guanyem–we win), and Ahora Madrid.

Despite the media and their polls favoring the traditional parties, the new upstarts made an impressive showing, most notably in Spain’s two largest cities, Barcelona and the capital, Madrid.

In Madrid, the candidate from Ahora Madrid, Manuela Carmena, was able to take the mayorship from career politician and aristocrat Esperanza Aguirre, through a left-wing coalition.

Similarly in Barcelona, Ada Colau, best known for her activist work with the anti-eviction group PAH, was elected mayor, unseating incumbent and big-party favorite Xavier Trias of CiU.

Here you find two stenciled portraits which recently popped up in Gràcia.

Whether the change referred to in the title of this post will extend beyond the initial election results remains to be seen…

2015-06-06 19.58.24-1

This larger than life size image can be found on Carrer Bailen, just between Gràcia and the Eixample. It’s from the artist konair, whose work can be found, in many different sizes, all around Barcelona. This artist’s work is unmistakeable, because of the distinctive popsicle form which all of the emotionally-charged images take.  Here you can find an article on the artist (in Spanish).

Making (happy) faces...

I stumbled upon this piece from Alice Pasquini while on one of my first runs downtown since the early spring. I was able to get quite a few new shots, as well as some better quality pictures of some older images. So why the happy face? Well, since last Saturday, this blog has been experiencing an unusually high amount of traffic, and checking the statistics at the end of each day, this child’s face almost captures what I’ve been feeling. Internally, at least. Unfortunately, I haven’t been actually giving myself this finger-widened smile. It could be my late thirties, or it could be that stern warning I received from my mother and more than a few responsible adults during my childhood: that if I morph my face long enough, it will get stuck that way. Looking back, I think there are hundreds or worse expressions to have stuck on my face…

Oops...

Near the Avinguda Paral·lel and just down from the Sala Apolo, I stumbled upon a series of concrete barriers, on the other side of which was a small outdoor theatre. There were a number of people in various states of boredom and/or early-spring intoxication filling the benches, possibly waiting for a show to begin. The other side, facing the street the benches had become an improvised skatepark. The concrete barriers were filled with interesting pieces, including this one, which come to us from the artist Balu. The child in the triangle is covering his/her mouth, but is it to keep quiet or because of a mistake or an accident?