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.
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.
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?
“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 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.