Sometimes, if luck is on your side and you are patient enough to look, you can encounter poetry or lyrics in Palma’s streets, and proverbs. Such outpourings might come in various shapes and forms and can attract your eye in often unexpected places. Street poems can be encountered as manifestations in the shape of graffiti, or else, on advertising notices offering services or wanting to sell goods and even as municipal adornments.
Along the Platja de Can Pere Antoni in Palma, just opposite the new Palau de Congressos building site, I found half a dozen tiles offering traditional Mallorcan refranys (proverbs) such as the one shown here: El peix cremant i la carn belant (the fish hot and the meat, medium done). Others talked about the calm sea or one or the other wind type. I came away with a smile.
The photo was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 18th, 2011. The time was 12:18:36.
I came across a graffiti the other day that riddled me. I couldn’t make out what it was or is about. Perhaps it’s an announcement for a Rock band, maybe it’s a street poem or a declaration of love. Mallorca is full of secrets and surprises if only one is prepared to encounter them.
Perhaps one of my loyal visitors can help with this baffling message. The language may be a clue: the message was written in Castellano, not Catalán. In Felanitx where the graffiti was found the locals and in particular the youngsters predominantly speak Mallorquí (Catalán).
The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 1st, 2011. The time was 12:19:48.
The advertising hoardings of black toros (bulls) have added to the Spanish landscape since the Nineteen-fifties, when bulls first appeared in large, cut-out silhouettes promoting the famous Spanish Brandy, Veterano. Then, the Osborne spirits company erected large images of bulls in black with the maker’s name, as advertising boards on sites near to major roads throughout Spain. The bull is, by some, regarded as a semi-official national symbol of Spain. The Osborne bull can been seen looming on hillsides all over Spain. When Spain outlawed billboards on national roads in the early 1990′s, the bulls had to be taken down. Many Spaniards protested, as they had become endeared to them. The original bull was smaller and of a slightly different design. It got bigger as publicity was prohibited within 150 meters of a main road. The bulls now have a height of 14 m. There are said to be around 70 of these giants placed throughout the country. You might have seen one yourself, perhaps the only one in Mallorca, between Algaida and Montuïri.
In Mallorca, as in Catalunya, the Osborne bull is not as welcome as in other parts of Spain. The Mallorcan cut-out toro often suffers from protesting graffiti (see my earlier blog entry). A couple of days ago, the billboard was defaced again but, this time in a cheerful manner. Now the black bull appears in the colours of the rainbow (see photo). Even though this colour spectrum is usually attributed to the Gay Pride movement, it is widely speculated that the latest toro misdeed was in fact carried out by the Spanish anti-bullfight movement who are known to have converged in Mallorca during the last few days.
Whatever you might think about bullfights, Osborne bulls, anti-bullfight protesters or the gay scene, the rainbow coloured toro between Algaida and Montuïri adds a bit of colour to the landscape. One has to applaud the creative impetus of the culprits.
The photo was taken near Algaida, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 10th, 2011. The time was 11:21:01.
On one of your shopping excursions in Palma’s old town you may have noticed some small graffiti doodles over the last year or so, such as in Carrer Sant Feliu, Carrer Montenegro and the whole Sa Llotja district. Some of these graffiti drawings are relating the image of an insect to the word ‘god’, or the image of a four-legged animal to the word ‘spacesheep’. In case you should be interested, I can reveal the name of the artist: Albert Pinya.
It is indeed an artist who created the very precisely executed graffiti images, or so opines his gallery representative for Spain, Ferran Cano (below on the left; the artist can be seen on the right). Albert Pinya was born in Palma de Mallorca in 1985, but now lives and works in Berlin (Germany).
For those of you interested in some of Pinya’s gallery work (acrylic on canvas), here is one painting called ‘Majorca’. The artist has successfully shown his work in Milan and Turin (Italy), Chicago and New York (USA), Antwerp (Belgium), Berlin (Germany), Basel (Switzerland), Barcelona and Caceres (Spain). This is an artist we may well hear more of.
The photo (top) was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 16th, 2009. The time was 13:49:22. The photo (centre) was taken from the Internet courtesy of Diario de Mallorca. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Gómezdelacuesta Blog. Muchas gracias.
There is an amazing amount of old stuff around in Mallorca. Sadly, a large number of old buildings were desecrated, destroyed or built upon, largely in those cases where old remnants belonged to the Islamic period. Such demolition was committed after the Reconquista in 1229. Other old and valuable structures were demolished at the beginning of the 20th century in the name of town planning, such as Palma’s magnificent fortified walls. Or sites of archaeological significance – of which there are a few hundred on the island – are often in a deplorable state of disregard. Anything is neglected that does not serve as a tourist attraction.
However, now and then one can find a little treasure, where perhaps a careful restoration of one particular building might uncover details such as wall graffitis paying tribute to island life before the advent of tourism. You have to keep your eyes open, though, in order to be able to spot such testimony of times long since passed. Samples of wall scratchings and cave paintings (caves is used here as a synonymous euphemism) can be found at the Castell de Bellver, in the Catedral de Palma, in the Palau Episcopal, in the Palau de l’Almudaina, in the Castell de Sant Carles and in a few other places.
The fine sample shown here can be found at the Torre d’Enagistes in Manacor, a building dating back to the 14th century. I believe these wall scratchings to date back to the 16th or 17th century. The Torre is now the home of the Museu d’Història de Manacor.
The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Manacor, Mallorca, Spain. The date: November 20th, 2008. The time was 12:16:21.
I came across a graffiti inscription on a house façade in Palma’s centre a couple of years ago. It is still there, today. It reads:
Mallorca aki nacieron mis hijos, aki murieron mis sueños (Mallorca – my children were born here, my dreams died here).
I don’t know what lies behind this sad accusation, but something awful must have happened. I gather from the spelling of aki (it would have to be aqui in spanish) that the person behind this message might be an immigrant from South America, but I do not know for sure.
The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The date: February 28th, 2008. The time was 12:56:43.
Children and youngsters in Mallorca have gone back to school, after a long break of Summer vacations. Primary schools in Mallorca started two weeks ago, secondary schools started last week, and this week new courses started in the Mallorcan universities.
I found this wall painting outside of an instituto building in Manacor. The graffiti type scribbles were obviously added subsequently. The language is pure 21st Century Spanish street slang, I suppose.
The photo was taken in Manacor, Mallorca, Spain. The date: September 24th, 2008. The time was 10:54:28.