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.
“Have you taken down the names for your paper yet?” she asked me. “Stay by my side and I will dictate them to you: the Count and Countess of Caralt, the Marquess of Palmerola, the Count of Fígols, the Marquess of Alella, the …
~ A Barcelona Heiress, By Sergio Vila-Sanjuán
In the decade before the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona was on the verge of boiling over, and perhaps this castle in the Pyrenees mountains to the south was at its height of glory thanks to workers in its coal mines. The Count of Figols and his family enjoyed the view from the tower while the miners, some as young as 14 years old, kept toiling about 13 kilometers away – until they revolted in 1932.
“The mining company, the greater part of which was owned by Liverpool-born José Enrique de Olano y Loyzaga, First Count of Figols, prohibited union organization and paid its workforce in tokens redeemable only in the company stores.”
Revolution and the State: Anarchism in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, by Danny Evans.
Today you can hashtag Figols (#figols) on social media and you can see the tower (Torre del Compte de Fígols) and wander through the ruins of the castle (Castillo Conde de Fígols) – and discover new graffiti pieces and paintings throughout the rooms. That’s what photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena did last week when he went to check out some fresh stuff he heard was painted here about 120 km north of Barcelona. We thank him for sharing his images with BSA readers from the castle of the Count of Figols.