A certain sunkissed and saucy lust is coupled with all manner of vice for the frolicking senior set that is often featured in scenes by the muralist, painter, and illustrator Marina Capdevila from Barcelona.
Born in the mid-1980s, she nonetheless favors wrinkled grandpas who are playing with cigarettes and giggling grandmas who have their eyes on the pool boy, peering at him from under a large bamboo hat and over a frozen margarita.
Here in her hometown of Falset in Spain, her newest festive partiers are celebrating all things wine, as is the practice of this place that hosts one of the more important festivals del vino in the country.
Of course, Covid is ruining this event again this year, but presumably, some people here are tipping a glass of Tinta o Blanco. “It’s a mural that pays homage to the traditional wine fair,” she says, “which this year will not be held, but at least you can enjoy this work.”
Over the last few spring-like days in Berlin, her portrait rose slowly about the streets, reminding us that her moral courage continues to have an impact today on International Women’s Day. It’s only been a recognized holiday in this German city for a year, says Urban Nation museum director Jan Sauerwald. Franco’s visage is the first to occupy what has been officially identified as the museums’ ‘Brave Wall.’
“Realizing this political mural on the theme of women’s rights together with artist Katerina Voronina is a special moment for the URBAN NATION Museum program,” he says, “To present the first ‘Brave Wall’ in Berlin and Germany on this day in cooperation with Amnesty International puts the project in a fitting context.”
The artist was chosen by a panel made of an equal number of Urban Nation and Amnesty International participants, along with journalist Miriam Davoudvandi. The joint goal on International Women’s Day is clear.
“Women’s rights are human rights and therefore an important part of our human rights work. I am very pleased that the first ‘Brave Wall’ in Germany was designed by a woman, Katerina Voronina, and honors the impressive commitment of human rights defender Marielle Franco,” says Dr. Julia Duchrow, Deputy Secretary-General of Amnesty International in Germany, in a press release.
An illustrationist and motion designer, Katerina Voronina successfully evokes the resolute spirit of fighting for human rights in the portrait of Franco, “With the realization of this ‘Brave Wall’ I had the opportunity to bring a special and courageous woman into focus.” she says.
Meanwhile, in Spain, artist and muralist Marina Capdevila identifies an obvious question about saving only one day to pay tribute to women in this new piece.
“Today, we still are fighting and working nearly every day to be listened to, to be taken seriously,” she laments, reflecting on the sly kind of dismissiveness she feels about her art practice sometimes. “I’m tired of receiving 8 million emails with proposals that offer to ‘give visibility to women,’ ” she says.
“If we continue like this, will we also eventually only work one day a year?”
Until such a day, she’s loving life as a painter and savors the sisterhood that brings her support and opportunity. “I am fortunate to have wonderful women in my life who inspire me, help me, and above all, make me laugh.”
In the US, families of military veterans say, “Freedom isn’t free.” It refers to the enormous amount of sacrifice people have to make – military and civilians alike – to guarantee that societies provide a fulsome measure of freedom and autonomy to their citizens. Likewise, free speech has to be fought for periodically to ensure that people have it – because it can be so swiftly taken away if we are not vigilant.
In our third installment of the murals painted in February in Barcelona, Spain, we are reminded that historically, the artist is often one of an oppressive government’s targets. It is somewhat sequential, the positions and stations in society who gradually are targeted for slurring and silencing. Academics, clergy, the press – a building degradation of respect for institutions and trust across the board.
These artists express their opinions in defiance of silencing because, inherently, they fight for everyone’s right to freedom of speech and expression, regardless of our comfort or discomfort with the ideas expressed. Because they must.
A new sharply political campaign championing the freedom of expression has caught fire in Spain in the last few weeks under the hashtag #NoCallaremos, and Street Artists are now adding their talents to the protest. Rather shockingly for a modern European nation, a rapper’s prison sentence for offensive lyrics was upheld in Spanish Supreme Court in February (Billboard) and that decision along with other recent events has sparked a number of creative protests across the art world in cities across the country. Today BSA contributing Street Art photographer Fer Alcalá shares his opinions and new images of the murals in progress with BSA readers.
THE NO CALLAREM PLATFORM
~ by Fer Alcalá
…or how some of Spanish top artists react against censorship and repression of the freedom of speech from the central government…
It’s now known worldwide: the Spanish government is imprisoning hip hop artists like Valtonyc and Pablo Hasel because of their sharp and truthful lyrics as well as sentencing people like you and me because of their critical posts on social media.
As a reaction to these acts against the freedom of speech that are more in tune with a well established dictatorship than with 40 years of democracy, some projects like the No Callarem (we won’t shut up) platform have raised their voices.
One of the direct actions organized by the platform for fighting against Partido Popular’s civil rights oppression was to film a video clip featuring some of the most renowned lyricists on the scene as Frank T, Elphomega, Los Chikos del Maíz, La Ira, Rapsusklei, and César Strawberry, among others, at the old La Modelo prison. The location is an accurate metaphorical scenario when you are seeing that your liberty is being cut off thanks to laws like ‘Ley Mordaza’.
The song ‘Los Borbones son unos ladrones’, which alludes directly to the Spanish monarchy, includes some excerpts from some of the songs created by rappers serving a prison sentence. The video clip for the song, which you can watch at the end of this article, has become viral and almost all media outlets in the country are speaking about this big shout-out in the name of freedom.
I was invited to witness the filming and painting session by local artist Javier de Riba, from Reskate Studio, who invited some fellow artists to paint at La Modelo walls as a part of the whole process. Franco Fasoli JAZ, Twee Muizen, Txemy, Joan Tarragò, Enric Sant, Milvietnams, Werens and Fullet gave a new voice to the walls surrounding that backyard, providing 2D images that perfectly matched the spirit behind the beats and the rhymes.
This is what Javi has to say about his collaboration with the project:
“Our involvement with No Callarem happened thanks to the Catalan rap artist Pau Llonch. He lit the spark for recording a clip against the Valtonyc and Hasel sentences. They wanted to do it at La Modelo no matter what and the No Callarem platform supported the action. We helped to spread the word for putting together a team with different languages together to visually enhance the video clip.
At the beginning, was what meant to be an ‘atrezzo action’ turned into a bunch of pieces that can be visited in the backyard of Gallery 4. In fact that backyard is not open to the public, but you can see it from the watch guard pit. We think that, from a conceptual point of view, it’s very powerful to keep those pieces locked – especially when thinking about how things are going in Spain regarding freedom of speech.”
Additionally it’s worth mentioning Reskate’s initiative about shouting against the suffocating atmosphere that we are experiencing here for some time: ‘Our idea is that every artist post one piece / illustration / painting / picture (old or new) supporting our initiative promoting freedom of speech in order to criticize the lack of democracy within the Spanish government.
Some of the hashtags that we will use are #NoCallarem #EzGaraIsilduko #NonCalaremos #NunVamosCallar #NonCararam,#NoCallaremos being the main one.
Visual artists from Madrid, Zaragoza, Almería, Oviedo, Valencia, Vila-real, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valladolid, Tenerife…are supporting this initiative. Some of them are: Malakkai, Escif, Paula Bonet, Aryz, Ricardo Cavolo, Enric Sant, Twee Muizen, Franco Fasoli, Hyuro, Javier Jaén, Boa Mistura, Conrad Roset, Jordi Borràs, Danjer, Cinta Vidal, David de las Heras, Juan Díaz-Faes, Chamo San, and Marina Capdevila, among others.
La Semana por la Libertad de Expresión (Freedom of Speech Week) is happening now, with different activities taking place all over the country. The funds raised from these activities will go to a resistance fund for the platform in order to defend all those people chased and brought to justice because of censorship and repression. You can check the whole program of the week HERE.
So, yes: we have a fight going on. Comedians, actors and actresses, musicians, journalists, visual artists, the guy / girl next door who is active in social media… It’s kind of a Russian Roulette game where, if you are critical with the established system and you are using 3rd grade humor as a weapon, you can end in jail. And all of it is happening in a country whose government is accused of being the most corrupt on the whole continent.
I have a very well informed friend who has been kind of disappointed with the absence of critical vision and combative behaviors from most of the big names in the local street art / graffiti scene. Thanks to initiatives such as No Callarem and the impulse of people like Javi de Riba, she is reconciling herself with this small, but powerful little world whose images have the strength for making important things happen.
Finally, I’d like to recommend that you check the publications under the hashtag #nocallaremos that are out, as there will be some fine and unique art being produced for the occasion in the upcoming days.
As it’s being said in Los Borbones son unos Ladrones:
– rap music is not a crime
– we need scratches, we need paintings
– I don’t dream about Versace, I dream about barricades
– …because of the poetry that still sleeps in the ditches…
Big props to Javi de Riba, Xavier Urbano and all the artists behind the No Callarem movement.
“The mural commemorates the 100 years of the Gratallops Winery Cooperative,” says photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena, who shares some images of the new mural.
“Gratallops is a small municipality of 250 inhabitants about 180 km south of Barcelona, part of the famous wine region of Priorat.” Absent Capdevila’s typical on-point observations of seniors encountering the modern world with irony, the characters and action here are more typical and straightforward, but still with a sense of humor.
Any New Yorker on the street can tell you that Donald Trump has always been this way – he hasn’t made a “secret” of it. We just called this stuff “tabloid news”, and tabloids were an exception. Now they nearly rule all public discourse.
Lowest-common-denominator “News” has produced a lowest-common-denominator candidate. He almost clinched the highest elected office. There is a trail of polarized destruction in the wake.
For over a year this profit-driven entertainment media actually created a cancerous candidate who gives them daily “clickable content” while they hold their noses and count the dollars. These people aren’t serving you, or democracy. We are all collectively debased – men and women, black and white, Mexican and Muslim, rich and poor, families, children, teachers, workers, nurses, doctors, cashiers, church people, atheists – as a result.
The GOP’s flirtation with starting and fanning racist bonfires over the past decade or so has finally swallowed it in flames, leaving it in smoking embers, their leaders completely covered with fecal matter, quieted and stunned. The reputation of the US around the world took a battering thanks to this tabloid news candidate as well. Traveling to Street Art events outside the US this year, invariably someone would shake us by the lapels and ask us what the hell was going on with this Trump guy?!.
In recognition of the woman-hating man who came dangerously close to the White House, here are a number of different women and girls by Street Artists creating in the public sphere at the moment, covering a range of styles, backgrounds, techniques and points of view.
So, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Beast, Danielle Mastrion, Faile, finDAC, Jilly Ballistic, Kevin Lyons, Leticia Mondragora, LMNOPI, Marina Capdevila, Myth, Never Crew, Ouch, Shepard Fairey, Sipros, Slick, Spaik, Stray Ones, Taker, Who’s Dirk, and Zimer.
The influence of Street Art and graffiti continues to disperse through cities, towns and the countryside of many regions in the form of mural festivals. The village of Penelles in Catalonia asks residents if they would like to hand over the walls of their houses to be painted by contemporary artists and many say yes, gladly.
It is a far cry from the responses of landlords in large cities where the association in the minds of many is graffiti and vandalism. According to a posting on Facebook, the challenge for attendees of a recent mural festival here was to gather enough money to rent a bus and drive people around to see the new artworks!
GarGar, the festival held in the third week of May, also featured live music, food trucks, beer, workshops, and people milling around taking photos of the artists while they worked and discussing the new pieces. Perhaps taking as a model the same concept as the Spanish town of Fanzara, Penelles is a small sleepy town that is being revitalized with urban art.
Photographer Luis Olive Bulbena tells us that the town, which is located around 130 km northwest of Barcelona, has about 500 inhabitants and “basically the whole of the municipality revolves around agriculture.”
We thank Mr. Bulbena for sharing these new images with BSA readers.
This week David Bowie died. There isn’t much more for us to say.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Axe Colours, Faile, Homo Riot, J Morello, Jorge Rodriguez Gerarda, Jules Muck, KAS, London Kaye, Marina Capdivila, Nueks, SacSix, and Verb Five.
Chomp chomp, slurp slurp, spraaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy spray sp sp sp spraaayyyyyyyyyy. The sounds of a sidewalk barbecue and painting a new piece on a wall on a hot July day in Brooklyn. Also honking, screeching, sirens, and Action Bronson, Hot Chip, or Major Lazer pumping out the windows of a passing car. Want a cherry popsicle?
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring $howta, Barlo, BD White, Brad Robson, DAIN, Dee Dee, Denton Burrows, Faith47, Fin DAC, Jack Fox, Jorit Agoch, LOMNOPI, JPO, London Kaye, Marina Capdevila, Skirl, Sosta, and Zimer.