All posts tagged: Spain

Artists Commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women In Barcelona.

Artists Commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women In Barcelona.

News reports are telling a story about an uptick in domestic violence because families are confined in closed quarters for long periods of time during the COVID-19 lock-downs across the world. A tendency toward abusive behavior is further complicated by economic insecurity, lack of food, and generalized fear. There is help available, please see below for resources.

Nuria Farre Abejon. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Photographer and BSA contributor Lluis Olive Bulbena sends a dispatch from Barcelona’s Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies where a group of 13 artists were selected from 30 submissions to paint a graffiti jam to highlight the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Organized by @Wallspot.

Nuria Farre Abejon. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

From the Healthline website:

Mental health support

If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:

Resources for finding a therapist

Maru Hrz. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Maru Hrz. International Day Against Women’s Violence. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Where to go for help

Gemma Fontanals. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Gemma Fontanals. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
La Castillo. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
La Castillo. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Ro Ledesma. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Ro Ledesma. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Marina Vallo. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Maria Gargo. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Maria Gargo and Marina Vallo. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Galleta Maria. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Galleta Maria. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Gemma Fontanals and Galleta Maria. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Garoine. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Ana Taratiel Ovni. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Ana Taratiel Ovni. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Elloise Gillow. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Elloise Gillow. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Nuria Toll.International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Nuria Toll. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona. November, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
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Juanjo Surace’s View on Trump and The USA: “It’s a Trap!”

Juanjo Surace’s View on Trump and The USA: “It’s a Trap!”

Political cartoons and murals sometimes overlap but rarely as impressively and with such frightening a warning as this new one from Juanjo Surace in Barcelona.

The skill and quality and powerful depiction all come together here from across the Atlantic Ocean, perhaps a clarion summation of how those outside the U.S. now see us and the current occupant of the White House.

Juanjo Surace. Plaza De Las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

The artist is professionally a painter, sculptor, and animation professor. He says he is self taught and that his deepest love for his craft is expressed when spray it on the street.

All aerosol. Nine hours.

He says the new piece is entitled, “It’s a Trap!”

Juanjo Surace. Plaza De Las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
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3rd Edition of Kronos Inclusive and Looking to the Future of Art, Graffiti, Creativity, the Street in Barcelona

3rd Edition of Kronos Inclusive and Looking to the Future of Art, Graffiti, Creativity, the Street in Barcelona

We continue to see a dissolving of previous tensions between the worlds of graffiti writing and mural artists and other disciplines of art-making as we travel around cities around the world. Artificial divisions have persisted, and indeed the lived experience of graff and street art and mural making are distinctly different in certain respects, but the piece is the piece, regardless of style, and each creator can be an ambassador with a message.

Our own philosophy is if art is going to have the transformative power that we believe it can have on all of our societies, families, and institutions we need to dissolve artificial divisions in the creative community as well – as they serve little constructive purpose. As art in the street usually reflects society at large, we have our own challenges with classism, sexism, and racism as well.

So it’s great to see the continuance of brotherhood and sisterhood at small neighborhood festivals like the 3rd Edition of the Kronos Art and Arts Santa Mònica here in an area of Barcelona during the third week of October. One core philosophy at this festival this year was to re-consider the future of art and its role by actively consulting kids in defining what art is, and what it could be.

Juanjo Suarce. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

“Be aware of the role of ARTIST and his work in our PRESENT, without judging, without imposing criteria, with the sole conviction that what we are creating is the prologue of the FUTURE in the ART”

During their ‘live painting’ events at 3 Chimney Plaza (Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies) it was the men and women, graffiti writers and street artists – all working side by side. Part of a much larger group of events that included 70+ artists, photography, sculpture, performance, music, video art, cinema, talks, and workshops, these painters just did their thing and had a good time.

“Becoming cultural activists, taking the reins of how to express ourselves and about what to express ourselves through art; and by doing so becoming key pieces for the freedom of creation, we become aware as spectators, as thinkers, as artists, as a species. KRONOS ART BCN 2020 is a wager to the freedom of society through the freedom of the artist; free to catch everything that interests and surrounds them, without fear of being judged and without judging the protagonists of their artwork. Free to BE in all the aspects that make us human, thus turning the PRESENT into the prologue of a FUTURE world full of diversity.”

Our thanks to photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena for capturing a few of the artists at work at the plaza.

Magda Cwik. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Magda Cwik. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Magda Cwik. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Seno. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Seno. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
CHAN. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
CHAN. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Bubbles – Keruna. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Bubbles – Keruna. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Mega – Keruna. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
SOEM. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
SOEM. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Ives One. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Ives One. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Ives One – Seno. Kronos Festival. Plaza de las 3 Xemeneies, Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
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Grip Face Faces Generationally Abstract Obstacles in Palma de Mallorca

Grip Face Faces Generationally Abstract Obstacles in Palma de Mallorca

His years of eclecticism are melting now into digitally influenced abstraction on Grip Face’s new mural in Palma de Mallorca’s Pont d’Inca neighborhood in the Balearic Islands.  

Grip Face. “Les Obstacles génerationnels”. Palma De Mallorca, Spain. (photo courtesy of the artist)

With this pastiche of modern impressions, Grip Face finds a common aesthetic; one that rises from his own histories in skateboarding, graffiti, and street art to evolve this new entry into something he calls his Obstacles Series. This mural in particular is entitled “Les Obstacles génerationnels” (Generational Obstacles). Oh yes, you’ve heard of those.

The artist says he’s not feeling very optimistic about the future at the moment and that his attitude has crept into his new mural, where Grip Face generates a visual dialogue about the future. Perhaps he will feel more optimistic once all the parts of this puzzle come together.

Grip Face. “Les Obstacles génerationnels”. Palma De Mallorca, Spain. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Grip Face. “Les Obstacles génerationnels”. Palma De Mallorca, Spain. (photo courtesy of the artist)
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Okuda Paints an “Infinite Cantabria” on a Lighthouse on Spain’s Northern Coast

Okuda Paints an “Infinite Cantabria” on a Lighthouse on Spain’s Northern Coast

A beacon of color, seventy two colors to be exact, is now standing along the Spanish coast, thanks to Cantabria native Okuda San Miguel. The candy wrapped pole is circled by the street artist as he covers it and called it his “Infinite Cantabria” just as the fires of summer begin to cool.

Okuda San Miguel. “Infinite Cantabria”. Cantabria, Spain. (photo Beatriz Carretero & Omar H. Garcia)

He says he wanted this, the first lighthouse on the coast to be painted, to reflect the natural wealth and diversity of the autonomous Cantabrian region on Spain’s north coast. Built between 1833 and 1839, the Cabo Mayor Lighthouse is already a major tourist attraction with a storied past, so it is an unusual commission for a street artist to be invited to paint it and an opportunity to shed new light on these troubled times.

With sweeping vistas in every direction, this new treatment from Okuda is a hit, with 10K visitors in its first weekend a couple of weeks ago.

Okuda San Miguel. “Infinite Cantabria”. Cantabria, Spain. (photo Beatriz Carretero & Omar H. Garcia)
Okuda San Miguel. “Infinite Cantabria”. Cantabria, Spain. (photo Beatriz Carretero & Omar H. Garcia)
Okuda San Miguel. “Infinite Cantabria”. Cantabria, Spain. (photo Beatriz Carretero & Omar H. Garcia)
Okuda San Miguel. “Infinite Cantabria”. Cantabria, Spain. (photo Beatriz Carretero & Omar H. Garcia)
Okuda San Miguel. “Infinite Cantabria”. Cantabria, Spain. (photo Beatriz Carretero & Omar H. Garcia)
Okuda San Miguel. “Infinite Cantabria”. Cantabria, Spain. (photo Beatriz Carretero & Omar H. Garcia)
Okuda San Miguel. “Infinite Cantabria”. Cantabria, Spain. (photo Beatriz Carretero & Omar H. Garcia)


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Borondo Stages “INSURRECTA” on 32 Billboards in Segovia

Borondo Stages “INSURRECTA” on 32 Billboards in Segovia

Gonzalo Borondo stages an insurrection against the authorities who would hope to instruct you how to think about art in the public sphere, the right of the overlord to pollute the visual landscape at will, and the limitations of our imaginations in Segovia a nine-month installation.

Borondo. Insurrecta. I Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)

A 32 billboard installation totaling 17 locations, the Spanish street artist and conceptual installation artist evokes sepia-soaked memories of history as told through the view of those recounted in a communal uprising here 500 years ago.

Extending beyond the frames with sculpture, layered textures, and projection, the post-industrial modernist documents events and takes liberties with his interpretation, a 5 chapter “INSURRECTA” that instructs and reflects with symbols and figures and open spaces. For those familiar with his vocabulary over the last decade+, it’s a fulsome maturity that commands as it expands, with poetry. Sometimes it plays with it background, other times the background has its way with the canvas.

Borondo. Insurrecta. II Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)

Paying homage to Goya, his engravings of “Los Caprichos” and “Los Desastres”, he works within a narrow palette and innovates forcefully, playing with perspective and your willingness to interpret.

In his description of the Segovian people and their fierce spirit of defiance and riotous acts in pursuit of autonomy and self-reliance, he says he is inspired by “humanity confronting nature, the discourse of the urban in the natural landscape, the effects of imposition on society, the reappropriation of spaces by different agents.”

Borondo. Insurrecta. III Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)

Leaning heavily on visual metaphor, many in the graffiti and street art communities can identify with his take on reappropriation of land, resources, and the expression of art in the public sphere. It has become commonplace to expound upon street art as an “outdoor gallery”, but this mapped and self-guided tour looks as close to a museum exhibition as we’ve seen, and it’s even walkable for many.

As ever, you decide the route.

Borondo. Insurrecta. V Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. VI Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. VII Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. VIII Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. IX Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. X Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. XI Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. XII Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. XIII Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. XIV Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. XV Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. Map. Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)
Borondo. Insurrecta. Map key. Segovia, Spain. (photo © Roberto Conte)


Gonzalo Borondo presents INSURRECTA alongside the City Council of Segovia in collaboration with Acción Cultural Española (AC/E). The project sees the Department of Culture commemorate the 500th anniversary of the communal uprising in the city.

Segovia, Spain, from 29 June 2020 to 23 April 2021

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Barcelona Opening Slowly / Dispatch From Isolation # 67

Barcelona Opening Slowly / Dispatch From Isolation # 67

Barcelona, Spain has begun the process of re-opening the city from the confines of Covid-19. Lluis Olive, a frequent BSA collaborator tells us that phase I of re-opening includes bars and restaurants but only at 50% of their capacity. Stores under 400 square meters are also allowed to re-open. Groups up to 15 individuals are permitted to gather in public as well. For him this is a welcome relief for much needed open air.

Teo Vazquez. Barcelona, Spain. 05-2020 (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

And what does a street art fan and photographer do when you let him outside after weeks stuck in his home? That’s right, he captures the voice of the artists in the public sphere.

Here Mr. Olive shares a few shots on the streets of Barcelona – artists’ view on the pandemic.

Teo Vazquez. Barcelona, Spain. 05-2020 (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
El Rughy. Barcelona, Spain. 05-2020 (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 03.29.20 / Dispatch From Isolation #7

BSA Images Of The Week: 03.29.20 / Dispatch From Isolation #7

Highest claims for unemployment in our history. The best day on the Stock Market since 1933. People won’t get relief from the government for weeks and many live paycheck to paycheck. Typically one might predict these are conditions for a domino effect that sets in motion a revolution, if you’ve read history books. Already there are talks about mass rent strikes for April.

Meanwhile, our neighborhood in Brooklyn is in the code red zone on the maps for Covid-19 outbreak in New York; so you’ll forgive us if we don’t go outside to capture fresh new Street Art for a while. We did have to leave once this week for a friend’s medical emergency (not the virus, thankfully) but we’re back on self-quarantine. Much respect to all medical personnel all across the world.

So, as long as we’re able, we’re going to publish work from the street. But please do send us what you see, what you capture – maybe out the window. But don’t put yourself at risk, or others.

We have to flatten this curve and it will take us all to do it.

So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring DeGrupo, 1UP Crew, Gris, Hellon Wheels, Jeff Kowalsky, Laszlo, LOOK, Joan Aguilo, Seco, The Brujo, and Yiannis Bellis.

Joan Aguilo in Madrid, Spain. (photo © Ricardo Hernandez)
Vidom + Look in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vidom + Look in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hellon Wheels (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The Brujo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP Crew in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist at the marquee at the Magic Bag theater in Ferndale, MI.(photo © Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)
DeGrupo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gris in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Yiannis Bellis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SECO (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Laszlo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Shabat prayers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. March 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Escif Burns in Empty València Public Square: “This Too Shall Pass”

Escif Burns in Empty València Public Square: “This Too Shall Pass”

A spooky set of images today from València, where an enormous torso of a woman is set afire in the center of the city, billowing blackened smoke through its cut severed body upward hundreds of meters into the air.

Escif. “This Too Shall Pass”. Valencia Fallas, March 17, 2020. Spain. (photo courtesy Escif)

Only two years ago we gave you stunning photos by Martha Cooper of Okuda’s enormous geometric pop art sculpture aflame for this traditional festival (OKUDA Sculpture Engulfed in Flames for Falles Festival in València). The culmination of a city-wide street celebration that is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands in this city of 2.5 million. Now there is no one outside on Valencia streets.

Escif. “This Too Shall Pass”. Valencia Fallas, March 17, 2020. Spain. (photo courtesy Escif)

Spain and most countries in Europe are closing their borders, going into some version of a 24-hour lock-down curfew, encouraging people to self -quarantine to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

Look at the images of the yoga posed woman with a face mask, cut in two, lit on fire, only her shoulders and neck, and head remaining.  Is it violent? Is it poetry?

Escif. “This Too Shall Pass”. Valencia Fallas, March 17, 2020. Spain. (photo courtesy Escif)

Suddenly this image became a symbol of peace and calm, unity and solidarity,” says Spanish Street Artist Escif, the political sociologist who often infuses his figurative imagery with greater commentary on society.

Escif. “This Too Shall Pass”. Valencia Fallas, March 17, 2020. Spain. (photo courtesy Escif)

Escif tells us that the Valencia government decided to burn just the body of the sculpture and to keep the face with the mask in the square – until this crisis ends. Surrounded by firefighters, this fire goes up. Yet this serene woman will remain after the flame is extinguished, what is left of her.

“This too shall pass,” he says.

Escif. “This Too Shall Pass”. Valencia Fallas, March 17, 2020. Spain. (photo courtesy Escif)
Escif. “This Too Shall Pass”. Valencia Fallas, March 17, 2020. Spain. (photo courtesy Escif)
Escif. “This Too Shall Pass”. Valencia Fallas, March 17, 2020. Spain. (photo courtesy Escif)
Escif. “This Too Shall Pass”. Valencia Fallas, March 17, 2020. Spain. (photo courtesy Escif)
Escif. “This Too Shall Pass”. Valencia Fallas, March 17, 2020. Spain. (photo courtesy Escif)
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Jacoba Niepoort Lets Go in Fanzara

Jacoba Niepoort Lets Go in Fanzara

Danish painter Jacoba Niepoort captures a figure mid moment, usually in movement and gently touched with romantic realism.

Jacoba Niepoort. MIAU Festival 2019. Fanzara, Spain (photo © Jacoba Niepoort)

Here in Fanzara, Spain her new mural for the MIAU Festival is in two distinct parts, separated by bricked wall, interconnected by a chord. The malleable wire of energy seems to envelop the nude as she reaches toward a winged being which is taking flight, thin rope in claw.

This looks like a powerful creature. You may imagine this whimsical scene taking a difficult turn as soon as this bird is airborne and the entangled figure is dragged along behind, haplessly scraping along the ground and banging into houses, cars, and bushes until lifted up above the trees.

Jacoba Niepoort. MIAU Festival 2019. Fanzara, Spain (photo © Jacoba Niepoort)

Hopefully that doesn’t occur.

Niepoort tells us that this is scene not to be taken so literally.

“The mural is about the process of letting go of those things we have a hard time letting go of,” she says. Given the moment she has depicted here, there is little time remaining to let go.

Jacoba Niepoort. MIAU Festival 2019. Fanzara, Spain (photo © Jacoba Niepoort)
Jacoba Niepoort. (NEMO’s on the left) MIAU Festival 2019. Fanzara, Spain (photo © Jacoba Niepoort)
Jacoba Niepoort. MIAU Festival 2019. Fanzara, Spain (photo © Jacoba Niepoort)
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Post Royalty Fígols: Post-Graffiti at the Count’s Castle in the Pyrenees

Post Royalty Fígols: Post-Graffiti at the Count’s Castle in the Pyrenees


“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


Isabel Rabassa. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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.


SM172. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

“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.


SM172. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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.

The Count of Figols: “José Enrique de Olano y Loyzaga, basc però nascut el 1858 a Liverpool, va ser el promotor de Carbones Berga S.A., adquirida l’any 1893” – from Directa
SM172. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
SM172. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Isabel Rabassa. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Isabel Rabassa. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Isabel Rabassa. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Isabel Rabassa. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Paulo Consentino. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Ives One. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Sebastiene Waknine. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Sebastiene Waknine. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Sebastiene Waknine. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Rubicon. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
a FASE. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Unidentified artist. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Juanjo Surace. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Gerson Ruiz. Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Castillo Conde de Figols. Catalonia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
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Elbi Elem Creates “MERCAR” at Circular Festival in Madrid

Elbi Elem Creates “MERCAR” at Circular Festival in Madrid

Not your typical mural festival, Circular asks you to recycle your art materials to create your new piece.

Elbi Elem. MERCAR. Festival Circular. Madrid, Spain. 2019. (photo © MSAP)

Occurring on the outer rim of Madrid, this collection of thinkers and conceptualists challenge almost every concept of the sad digression called the “mural festival” today – with the sincere focus of bringing the practice back to the community and creating work in the context of it.

Artist Elbi Elem tells us that she and Sue975, Aida Gómez, Octavi Serra, Clemens Behr, Brad Downey and Marina Fernandez were living and working in this barrio in the southern part of Madrid for two weeks. Rather than “parachuting” in and immediately putting up a mural that has nothing to do with the city, she tells us that it was important to spend a week to get to know the barrio and the people.

Elbi Elem. MERCAR. Festival Circular. Madrid, Spain. 2019. (photo © MSAP)

“Then we chose a location and got the materials,” she says of the recycled items with which she built this sculpture. “It is metal and mostly tubes and plastics that were found in abandoned places and waste from some factory of the industrial area that we were in – like plastics that had been used for signs or skylights.”

Officially running from October 1-20, Circular says that the entire concept is meant to reconsider the role of urban art in a city and to return its scope and proportions away from the enormous expanses we have been seeing on the sides of skyscrapers to something that is more, well, human scale. In addition to supporting themes such as sustainability and scale, organizers say they’re less interested in being a tool for gentrification or revitalizing areas for tourism, and more interested in bringing art to neighbors.

Elbi Elem. MERCAR. Festival Circular. Madrid, Spain. 2019. (photo © MSAP)

“By taking the festival to this area of southern Madrid, we contribute to the decentralization of culture in the city, to the democratization of art and to bringing it closer to all types of audiences,” they say in a description of goals.

For Elem’s sculpture, which she calls a “floating art installation”, she welded the metal and tried to use colors that are natural to this human-made environment.

“At the same time the colors I used were also the same as the surroundings, being integrated with the landscape,” she says.

Elbi Elem. MERCAR. Festival Circular. Madrid, Spain. 2019. (photo © Elbi Elem)

“I decided to work under this long-roofed area at the entrance of the main market. I liked the environment and the background and it was easy to hang the piece. I loved that place because you could see a lot of movement of people going to shop and it was interesting seeing their reactions,” she adds, “mostly of surprise.”

“Festival Circular” in San Cristobal de los Angeles, Madrid, is curated by Madrid Street Art Project.

Elbi Elem. MERCAR. Festival Circular. Madrid, Spain. 2019. (photo © Elbi Elem)
Elbi Elem. MERCAR. Festival Circular. Madrid, Spain. 2019. (photo © Elbi Elem)
Elbi Elem. MERCAR. Festival Circular. Madrid, Spain. 2019. (photo © Elbi Elem)
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