The color palette of the new collection of murals at the 3rd edition of Parees Festival is softened, earthen, stable. Adding five new murals brings the total to 23 here in Oviedo The 3rd edition of Parees Festival in Oviedo in Northern Spain, only minutes from the Bay of Biscay.
As you review the techniques and schools of influence you can see the careful curation of the selection of muralists – each seemingly contextual, whether figurative or abstract of geometric.
Organizers say the newest artist participants, Mina Hamada, Hedof & Joren Joshua, Udatxo, Catalina Rodríguez Villazón & Matth Velvet, were chosen from a global selection yet are expected to be cognizant of their immediate environment in their conception.
There are themes based on regional culture, say the organizers, and “You can also add to this spirit the main characteristic of the event which make it something different from other urban art festivals in the country: the participatory processes: neighbors from every area where the walls are located collaborate with their authors in order to participate in the final design.”
With a focus on quality over quantity, fair fees for artists and participants, and a wholistic approach to contextual creation, the festival is entirely subsidized by the Municipal Culture Foundation of the City of Oviedo – free from possible conflicts with galleries or commercial brands.
Reputation is built on behavior and results and this model for community-conscious mural making is one that organizers can be proud of.
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.
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.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1.“Collective Heartbreak” KNOW HOPE at Nuart 2017
2. Igor Ponosov “Too Far, Too Close”
3. UNIQA Art Łódź project in Łódź, Poland
4. Agostino Iaurci for Parees Fest.
BSA Special Feature: “Collective Heartbreak” KNOW HOPE at Nuart 2017
Loquacious street poet Know Hope usually has a lot to say and the Isreali Street Artist’s somewhat cryptic text interludes often accompany imagery on walls and his indoor studio works. Custom made verses, sometimes heart rendering, contemplate isolation, unresolved miscommunications, aspiration, gnawing fears; interstitial vagaries that channel political as personal emotional drama, a suspended state of limbo.
For his interactive installations at Nuart this year Addam Yekutieli aka Know Hope spent time listening. He collected stories from Stavanger locals about their experiences of heartbreak and hand painted fragments from those stories in austere urban . For the outdoor part of the project, Addam extracted fragments of words from their stories and placed them around the city, drawing a common story that he hopes strikes universal truths.
IGOR PONOSOV “Too Far, Too Close”
“ ‘Too far, Too Close’ is a project by the Russian artist Igor Ponosov which sees a typical Stavanger sailing boat transformed into an abstract mural for Nuart Festival 2017.
The project is meant to symbolizes the distance or disconnect between the public and the vast majority of state-sanctioned public art. The piece was supplemented by Ponosov’s second outdoor art work, titled ‘No signal’, which critiques the growing use of projectors in street art mural production.”
UNIQA Art Łódź project in Łódź, Poland.
Regular readers of BSA will recognize almost every one of these sculptures from Łódź, Poland as we have published stories on them previously. Here is a quick round-up of the last couple of years’ worth of public sculptures featured in the UNIQA project, exploring another in-between strata of semi-autonomous Street Art/Public Art involvement that requires permissions (usually) and yet is not choked to death by bureaucratic committee.
Agostino Iacurci for Parees Fest. Oviedo, Asturias. Spain. Video Titi Muñoz
A process video of the creation of a new mural by Italian Street Artist/Muralist Agostino Iacurci done last month in Spain for the Parees Fest. Aside from the impressive result, it is notable to see that he has an ongoing daily audience sitting comfortably before the enormous wall, sipping a coffee.
“Spogo is one of the most reknowned abstract street artists in Spain,” says photographer Fernando Alcalá of the Barcelona based geometrist who has installed a balanced composition that anchored at the base of an elevated freeway here in Oviedo, Asturias in the North of Spain.
The festival is called Parees, a slang derivation of paredes (walls), and this one is meant specificially for Noche Blanca.
Currently having an exhibition at GKO Gallery in Guipúzcoa, Spogo has also had a busy year painting outside in Madrid, Barcelona, Cantabria, Gante, Oviedo, Badalona and Tolosa, says Alcalá. Enjoy the video directed by Titi Muñoz, and image here from Mr. Alcalá.