The XXI century’s society observes how street art and graffiti serve to speak up and to debate about the problems existing in both rural and urban landscapes. In that sense, emergent artists and old-school Spanish writers use walls across cities to paint decorative murals with a social message.
Have you ever stopped for a minute in front of a contemporary artwork to think about its message? What did the artist want to say? Today’s article will dig into Spain’s most representative social street art. Life As A Human will showcase:
- Festivals with responsible and sustainable goals.
- Independent creators to follow on social networks.
- Current spots that neighbors defend.
The streets talk about freedom of speech
Whether developed in a permitted way or illegally, urban art may change a grey boring canvas into a meaningful and colorful wall. Moreover, people use both public and private surfaces to express their opinion. When was the last time that you observed a graffiti which quoted a problem or people’s thoughts?
What you should also know is that at points, artists are prosecuted because of their designs. Some of them are even taken to municipal courts to defend the artworks’ point of view. That’s the case of Ruca, a local female graffiti writer from Madrid who stood up in front of political members to support her ‘pussy warriors’.
Political situation in Spain
Similarly to what happens in other European regions, part of the population is fed up with some politicians’ attitude. For instance, Barcelona based artist Roc Black Block participated in an open paint jam in which he caricatured Juan Carlos I, former Spanish king.
That was one of the examples with which several artists decided to protest in Catalunya’s capital city against Pablo Hasel’s imprisonment. This famous rapper and active twitter user was taken to prison last 16th February 2021 because of insulting and damaging the honor of the Spanish monarchy.
Likewise, other cities such as Granada and Madrid featured artists graffiti walls. Would you classify these performances as art or vandalism?
Homelessness and the housing crisis
Next addressed theme corresponds to the globalization effects. Is human life going in the right direction? What are the possible consequences for the population if we don’t act on time as a group? There’s a need for action, and it has to happen now.
Have you ever heard about ‘gentrification’? That term describes the process by which low socio-economically challenged neighborhoods are taken by artists, restaurants and commercial brands. Thus the aspect changes and housing & rental prices increase. Furthermore, participants at CALLE Lavapiés urban art festival in Madrid paint with that topic in mind.
Domestic violence and discrimination against women
Feminism is another movement which is not only spread in Spain, but also in other countries around the world. Citizens of different ages and genders participate in demonstrations every 8th March to celebrate International Women’s Day. However, there are artists who use street art to talk about equity and justice in a daily way.
One of those artists was Hyuro, an Argentinian who recently passed away leaving us an important legacy. Her artworks included human headless bodies with which the observer may feel identified according to his/her personal lifestyle. Tamara Djurovic’s painting style included messages to support her cause.
How social street art could help the most vulnerable ones?
Art gallery owners and street art curators in Spain do also take their part when organizing private events and fairs that imply socially related actions. Artists are often hired according to their commitment with responsible causes, using part of the revenue to invest in paint for workshops.
It’s thanks to those experiences that the general audience may put into practice what has been learnt about equity and social justice. @BoaMistura (great mixture in Portuguese language) is an urban art crew that develops projects aimed at the less favored ones. As observed in the attached image, this artwork was developed in a squatter settlement.
Different ways to fight against xenofobia
Last but not least, both graffiti writers and street art artists in Spain use their multidisciplinary skills to stand up against hate for having a different religious belief or sexual orientation. The countries’ art community creates professional connections between artists who share a responsible philosophy, offering them the opportunity to participate in collaborative projects.
CINTA VIDAL & Roc Black Block pictures by Fernando Alcalá
Guest Author Bio
Javier Garcia Colomo
Javier Garcia Colomo is a professional graffiti writer and tour guide at Cooltourspain. He runs street art tours in Madrid that talk about the problems existing in the Spanish society, through a contemporary point of view. He believes that there’s room for a better world. “You must be the change you wanna see in the world”.