Much like Berlin, the city walls of Valencia are a canvas. Graffiti, murals, stickers and tags grace the streets. A stroll through the park sees sculptures galore, accompanied by groups of young adults sketching away. The art, and the city, is ever changing. What is there one day could be gone the next. Pieces appear overnight. The streets are creative pathways of inspiration, political commentary and expressionism.

Street art across the world is slowly evolving from a once frowned upon act of vandalism to a valued piece of art, forming a vital aspect to the identity of Valencia. Legal, commissioned murals are in abundance across the city, from bar exteriors such as ‘Radio City’, to the shutters of restaurants and shops, giving the establishments allure even when the streets are asleep.

Whilst murals hold constraints, graffiti leaves a mark of rebellion, free to critique governments and patriarchies alike. Intervention art remains common amongst the barrios of Valencia, with artists taking advantage of the blurred lines of their legal status.

Street art, and its place in bringing light to controversial issues, cannot be mentioned without an ode to El Carmen. In the 1970s & 80s El Carmen faced a hard drugs crisis, prompting numerous protests to get drugs out of the heart of Valencia. The historic centre of Valencia is now a safer place than 40 years ago and creativity continues to flourish too.

Today, as more women are brought into the spotlight of street art, including ‘Marina Puche’, the first woman in history in charge of designing the municipal Falla… who still produces pencil and ink street work  in Valencia…feminism and the rebellion against the patriarchy are popular topics for her and many other artists. ‘Barbiturikills’ trademark pink bunnies litter the walls, promoting sexual freedom, whilst ‘Nena Wapa Wapa’ creates murals that question the objectification of women, often identified by ravens splattered amongst her pieces.

It is not uncommon to see these artists overlapping, collaborating and building upon each other. Street art is not just beautiful and often thought provoking, but also fosters a sense of community. Valencia’s walls, lamp posts, signs and any other blank canvas of the pathways foster artistic camaraderie, with many notable Valencian and Spanish artists leaving their mark on their country.

To wander round these roads is a feast for the eyes that brings warmth to the heart. Personally, I have never been in a city so full to the brim of art that has made me itch to draw and create so fervently. The unique characteristics of each and every piece makes you excited to experiment, to create mistakes, to try and find out new ways of what works. I cannot recommend enough getting out on the streets with a camera to catch what may be gone tomorrow and a mind ready to be inspired again and again.


Report by Abi Kara-Fernandes

Article copyright 24/7 Valencia

‘Barbiturikills’ photo copyright Abi Kara-Fernandes/ ’24/7 Valencia’

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