Street art continues to move to small towns and cities, expressing itself in various manners. The 7th edition of the Cheste Street Art Festival (Graffitea Cheste) is a perfect example of how dispersed the scene has become as it intertwines with murals. The result is a more sophisticated survey of art movements than most towns would ever see, including those with museums.
The town of Cheste (Xest in Valencian) is in the province of Valencia, and its nearly 9,000 inhabitants are traditionally involved with agriculture, with an emphasis on wine. Sponsored by the city, a few brands, foundations, and art institutions, you won’t find many politically challenging themes, but the scale and quality of work can be appreciable.
One small series of five paintings of particular note are the blurred video versions (if you will) of interpretations of works painted at the turn of the previous century by the Spanish Valencian painter Joaquín Sorolla. With roots in graffiti and street art, the artist Salvaje Selva is a painting teacher in Madrid. Frequently he also paints with Kako Selva on collaborative murals under the moniker Gesto. Selva says these new murals are “in homage to the great master” on his Instagram page.
“It has been a real pleasure to be able to work based on the work of this great painter, who has inspired me to interpret freely and let myself go,” he says. “In addition, studying from painting and practice is always very grateful. It gives you a deeper insight into the work of artists. Within this dialogue, I wanted to include the relationship with the support and leave part of the voice of the wall itself.”
The degree of community involvement for Graffitea Cheste is substantial and sincere with tours, symposia, and educational programming. By the end of the June festival this year, there were 13 more murals added to the extensive collection. The celebration closed with a flourish and a screening of the documentary about the great Valencian illustrator José Segrelles.
We thank photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena for sharing his discoveries with BSA readers.