Archives for posts with tag: Bracelona street art

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.

 

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For my second May post (which is actually hitting in June) I’ve decided to return to Gràcia, as I haven’t posted much from the surrounding area lately. Most of these shots come from strolls around the vila over the last three or four weeks. As suggested in the title, one of the more interesting ones is a portrait of tourists as paella-wielding, selfie-sticked zombie hordes who come to invade our quiet little neighbourhood nearly year-round. This sentiment can be seen in occasional graffiti which read “tourists go home”. As a foreigner who first came as a tourist, I’m a bit torn; while I recognize that tourism is vital to our local economy, and that a good majority of tourists are well-behaved and civilized, I also know as a resident what a putada it can be having the area so constantly crowded. On balance, I’m in favour of tourism, but I think that we need to start moving toward a more sustainable model. This is what the current city administration (in theory) is going for–a city planned and built for its residents, but also welcoming for tourists. A difficult happy medium to achieve, but a noble objective, in my humble opinion.

The other shots are rather random and generally political in nature, along with some anthropomorphized popsicles from konair, and some paste ups which have been appearing with increasing frequency.

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.

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…

2015-06-25 12.54.15

Just to the north of one of my favourite squares in all of Barcelona, the plaça de la Virreina, we find this larger-than-life image of the character Walter White, the main character in the immensely popular Breaking Bad. This image is the work of axe colours. I wish i had more to say about this series that wasn’t second-hand, but I haven’t had the opportunity to see even a single episode The reason is pretty much the same as the reason I haven’t updated this blog as much as I would like over the last few months.

Changes in my work and free time habits have provoked an inexcusable neglect of my little project here, one which I’m hoping to resolve between this summer and the next academic year. I also hope to be able to catch up on films and tv series, as I’m woefully behind on that aspect of pop culture.

You may remember the posts (both 1 and 2) that I had dedicated to the shutter-painting festival at my local market here in Gràcia. The paintings have held up surprisingly well, though there are a few blemishes to be found–a normal part of the evolution of exposed art. I did notice, walking along the far side of the building this past Sunday, that there were a few shots which I missed the first time round. So here I present, before they disappear, a few more snapshots of l’Abaceria.

Dalí's door

I’ve walked by this particular door many times over the past 8 months or so since starting this blog, but I’ve only just now gained the ability to capture a decent image of the entire doorway. I don’t remember exactly where this unmarked doorway hides, but I’m pretty certain it’s of a restaurant of some sort. I wonder what surreal stew could be bubbling in the pot beyond this door.