“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.
Typically you may expect to be praying the novena and asking God for absolution of your dastardly sins here in this sprawling compound called The Konvent near Barcelona. While no one would stop you today, you may also wish to check out a number of new installations throughout the many buildings by Street Artists.
The Roman Catholic former convent hosted 50 or so artists over the last couple of years to transform the space, perhaps to reinterpret its original charge in a modern light, perhaps just to ready the compound for commercial, cultural, and community pursuits of the owners.
Certainly the decaying spaces and austere aesthetic is inviting, calming, possibly frightening, depending on your associations. Now they are home for music, dance, theatre, film festivals, and artist residencies – often offered only in Catalan but some also in European Spanish.
As you walk through the spaces you are welcomed by these works by artists, many of them at one time or another categorized as Street Artists, whose voices now usher in a new era of contemplation and perhaps internal exploration.
Our thanks to photogapher and BSA contributor Lluis Olive Bulbena for sharing these images from El Konvent.
For more information about El Konvent please Click HERE
Owing to the scarceness of resources that are usually
allotted to those who arrive as refugees, Street Artist and muralist Sebastien
Waknine relies solely upon the thinnest piece of charcoal as he works on this
“Learning from Migrants and Refugees” is the name of the collection
of scenes that document the situations that people can be in when escaping from
strife and fear – the human aspect of appealing to the help of another society.
After five weeks of intensive work, Waknine stood aside during a public
introduction as a Syrian man held the microphone and described the scenes to an
assemble crowd in Barcelona.
in the gardens on the Hospital of Sant Pau in Barcelona, the mural was
commissioned by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and will be exhibited in
various locations within the city of Barcelona.
say that the mural highlights the journey of refugees from the ravages of war
and poverty in their countries as well as the realities of their living conditions
in their host countries.
It is an unusual technique for a public work these days, as
many have become accustomed to the splashy nature of big murals and festivals
that present them. Here the warmth of the rendering and the humanity conveyed
in the faces and gestures is only magnified when one gets close enough, even
intimate with, the artwork.
The detached impersonal nature of war by drone has enabled
such masses of people to be uprooted and chased from their lives – and a viewer
may contrast the experience of the driver of that drone drawn in the sky with
close-up terror of innocents whom Waknine depicts.
“It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for living.”
French existentialist, feminist, and intellectual Simone de Beauvoir saw the hell created by us and held us accountable to be performative agents in actively transcending the facts of our existence. Since April three artists have been depicting that hell on the exterior wall of Torrent de les Bruixes Institute in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, and they give Ms. De Beauvoir heroic role, triumphal; rising untouched and ebullient above the pit of vipers, monsters, dragons and fantastical embodiments of evils.
They call it “La Clausura Del Infierno”, roughly translated as “The Closing of Hell”. Perhaps it could be called “The Opening of Hell” as well.
Because we know you love to see the process as well as the final piece, here is a prime example of how the artists conceive the beginning of a mural by codifying colors. It is impressive how artists Sebastien Waknine, Simón Vázquez, and Juanjo Surace decided to sketch the forms and composition on the wall, using colors and shapes as code.
Our special thanks to photographer Lluís Olivé Bulbena, who shares these images with BSA readers.
A well branded cultural initiative brings for the second edition a festival of art, music, craft beer, food trucks, workshops to the village of Penelles in Spain, including 900 square meters of murals in this town with farmer roots and low one story buildings.
It has become almost a formula for cities and municipalities to inject a youthful culture and energy into an area – as you may expect, it is about striking a balance and treating all of your artists well and creating a mixture of events and opportunities for the people to engage with the scene. Even when the population of your Catalonian town is a little less than 500 people.
GarGar2 just happened in May with about 30 artists displaying public art in disciplines that touch on almost all of the currently used styles on the street; aerosol, wild style, figurative, illustration, neo-realism, photorealist, commercially slick, folk heroism, calligraphy, text based, pop art, abstract optics, political commentary, brush paint, stencil, craft, crochet, primitive sculpture… Organizers have studied the websites and social postings and surveyed closely what is happening in the mural/Street Art scene and are presenting a cross-section of at least one example of every category.
The somewhat arid agricultural community is spread out over many small roads and fields of wheat, rye, and corn. Old buildings are used for small art exhibitions and music venues – with many of the performing solo artists and ensembles playing a familiar mix of folk, jazz, afrocarribean, and electronic genres that merge local with international tastes.
It is a polished presentation meant to draw attention to the town, and we are thankful to photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena for capturing some of the images from this year’s festival. Following it is a video from last years’ GarGar.
One of the most active artists in the streets creating in a variety of styles of work that lean toward realism and sometimes tilt into fantasy and exaggerated caricature the London born Waknine decided to do this mural on Selva de Mar to speak to the pure human factors in a refugee crisis that grips much of the developed and developing world.
The new work captures the raw human emotions of fear, desperation and distress of people afloat on rough waters. Somehow Waknine also brings dignity to the harrowing scene and references classical painting, as he has on walls in his travels to countries like Mexico, France, Israel, Germany, and England.
As some societies open their doors to help those fleeing war and imminent danger it seems unthinkable to do anything less for the least of these.
Summertiiiiiiiiiiimmme, and the living is eaaaaassssssyyyyy. Yessir, today is the first day of Summer here in New York and the longest day of the year – which means you can take a nap under a tree in the park or on your towel at the beach and still have plenty of time to play when you wake up. There are abandoned buildings to explore, murals to paint, wheat-pastes to stick, interventions to engineer, stencils to cut, selfies to snapchat, potato chips to eat, beer to swig. That couch by the window is calling me even now, the big temptress, as she does so often on these languorous days, induced by the heat. But I will not heed her siren song.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Bezt, Buff Monster, Dain, Dee Dee, Faile, Fra. Biancoshock, Free Humanity, Gold Loxe, Li-Hill, Natalia Rak, Okuda, Old Broads, Phoebe, Sophia Hirsch and Johannes Mundinger, and Simon Vazquez and Sebastien Waknine.