Thursday 5 April 2012

The Murals of San Isidro

Over last weekend scores of artists were invited to cover the walls of houses in San Isidro, one of the poorest quarters of Orihuela (Spain), with the enthusiastic agreement of the people of the district. All the murals have a Miguel Hernández theme, to do with the man, his poems, or the times he lived through. The project was launched to mark the 70th anniversary of his death, in prison, at the age of 31.

The walls had been painted once before, in 1976, a few months after the death of the dictator General Franco, and before the end of censorship and the fascist police-state. The police had tried to prevent people reaching the town, but many managed to get in and get their work done quickly, quietly and in the dark.

As you can see, conditions this year were very different. Work started on Friday afternoon, and had to be finished by Sunday lunchtime; these pictures were mostly taken on Saturday afternoon, with work very much still in progress.

One of the most striking pictures is a version of Picasso's 'Guernica', originally painted in 1937 to represent the horrors of modern war. It has been painted by a team of artists, on the curved wall of a house at the entrance to the district, and will hopefully serve as an emblem of the city for years to come.
NB: there are 100 photos - you can view a slideshow, or navigate through the set

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