In a demonstration of people power and the role of street artists as activists, we look today at a neighborhood called Poblenou in Barcelona, whose residents have been gripped in a struggle with real estate developers. The developers have tried to destroy the buildings, the history, and the culture of the area, the local citizen’s group says, and they intend to dissuade them. According to Poblenou neighbors, the large real estate company has attempted to persuade the local city board to purchase a cluster of buildings, including houses with great historical and emotional value, to replace them with offices and high-end residential buildings.
After about five years, the battle rages, with locals saying that the Poblenou neighborhood stands as a symbol of struggle and resistance for the working-class people who built it and that people are proud of what the area has accomplished over time. It is a familiar refrain, this gentrification brought by investors – often these days aided and abetted by the “beautification” of the neighborhood by artists.
In this case, the artists are lending their skills to help the fight for the neighborhood instead. The number includes artist Tim Marsh who lives here. Today we see the wall he and like-minded creatives created, focusing in many cases on people who live here, in “the Passage” of Poblenou.
We thank photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena for sharing his photos of some of the artists and their murals with BSA Readers.