Archives for category: squatters

While the political chaos swirls around me, and daily life gets into the mix, it’s easy to forget that the show most certainly does go one. And street art is no exception.

I was reminded of this just a few days ago when I received, via twitter, the news that Spotted by locals, a website and app that serves as a guide to more than 65 cities worldwide, had chosen this blog to be on their list of the best of Barcelona. Be sure to take a look at the list here, as I’m in some excellent company.

As for the photos in this post, they range pretty much from the middle of July to just last week, and are from various locations, hence the title of this post. Many of them are from the murs lliures project in Poblenou, and have probably been replaced a few times over. Others are small shots from here in Gràcia, or the old city center. I have a small hunting expedition planned for the bank holiday coming up this week, so expect more in the next week or two!

These photos were taken on the 11th of September, which is the National Day of Catalunya, and the streets where I was wandering that day were abuzz with preparations for the demonstrations and celebrations of Catalan language and culture. The celebrations have become especially crowded over the last few years as the campaign for independence from Spain continues to gather steam, evident from the sea of estelades, which is the Catalan independence flag.

In order to avoid the crowds, I was trying to find some shortcuts which would take me over or under the long Avinguda Meridiana, which was the focal point of this year’s celebrations. As I was walking near the Torre Agbar, the loved/hated cucumber-shaped edifice which emerges from the urban landscape just near the the Plaça de Glories, I headed down a small hill and found an entire wall decorated with various tags and some fantastic murals. Facing the walls, on the other side of the vacant lot were a small group of chabolas, which are improvised shacks usually inhabited by Roma gypsies. Here is an example of some chabolas in Barcelona.

I was excited to find some new painted spots, as I’m finding fewer and fewer new images on my wanderings through the old city center. I hope to make a pilgrimage to this spot this week to see if there is anything new.

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As the title suggests, I’ve been receiving some requests for guest blog posts and interviews over the last few months, and I’d like to give a shout out to each one of them. The first one I did is part of the blog Homage to BCN, run by Rob Dobson. The feature which I did details my perfect day in Barcelona, which includes some good restaurant recommendations, as well as some highlights from Barcelona Street Scraps. Homage is one of my favorite blogs, and definitely should become a part of any reading list for anyone interested in the Ciutat Comtal.

 

Near one of the city’s most important transport hubs is the neighborhood of Sants, from which the train station gets its name. Once an independent village separate from the city of Barcelona, this residential neighborhood has a strong sense of identity due to its industrial root, and is home to what is considered to be one of the longest commercial streets in Europe, the Carrer de Sants.

Because of its rich industrial history, many of its buildings are perfect places for the once-common phenomenon of youth squats which become something like self-managed community centers, hosting all sorts of activities. As they are squats, there often arrives a moment when the building’s official owners decide to take control of the space, which usually means that squatters are asked to leave.

Such was the case of Can Vies, a squat that was established in 1997, and which became an epicenter of all manner of activities, performances and workshops. Its moment in the spotlight came in early 2014 when the building’s owner, the Barcelona Transport Authority decided to demolish the building.

The occupants, as well as others sympathetic to the squatter movement, didn’t take the forced eviction lying down, and the result were some intense days of street protests which made national news, and also spread to other Spanish cities.

The city ultimately decided to cancel the demolition, but not before destroying a good portion of the building, leaving basically ruins and parts of some of the walls. Two of the photos in this post show what remains of the squat, which has become something of a monument to resistance. The Can Vies website is still active, and activities, and plans for reconstruction, still continue.

Another photo is of a mural tribute to Can Vies which is on the previously mentioned Carrer de Sants. Finally, there are some random tidbits I found while wandering the surrounding streets.