I am just back from Oviedo in the Northwest of Spain where I was visiting for the second edition of the Parees Festival. It was my first time in this beautiful region and therefore my first time at this festival which is distinguished by its commitment to participatory processes and the dialogue with the environment as well as the desire to bring street art closer together to all audiences.
One of the main reasons for choosing to go to Parees instead of other festivals is their burning desire to put the artists and the community first when planning the whole event. Artist conditions and community participation are the main ingredients for the organisers to have what they believe to be a successful event.
It of course helps that there are some amazing artists participating this year also. Uruguayan duo Colectivo Licuado were in town whilst I was there and on Saturday they completed a huge mural in the town centre.
The mural itself was an ode to the local traditional Pandereta (tambourine) players – Nun Tamos Toes. These women meet together to play their own themes, singing in the Asturian language often about feminism and women’s strength. The mural shows the women playing their instruments, faces hidden, whilst in traditional dress. The women’s faces are hidden as a nod to their historical struggles.
The wall took around five days to complete which is pretty incredible going considering some of the weather the artists had to deal with. As you can see from the differing skylines in the photos it was a four seasons in one day type of climate!
I was very fortunate to spend a bit of time with Flo and Camilo up their giant scissor lift on the Friday as they finished off the top part of the wall. It was such a great experience for me personally to see up close, the creative process of two artists who I really admire. Often at these types of events you run around trying to see what you can but to stand there and take in every brush stroke really was fantastic. It helps that they are both little rays of sunshine, always chatting, singing and dancing their way through the day!
Another amazing thing to see was the reaction of the local people both during and after the creation of this mural. It was an overwhelmingly positive response from all the locals who walked past. From young people inspired to pick up a brush to older people desperate to share on their new Instagram account. Exactly what Parees are aiming for with this project. Art for the people of Oviedo and the surrounding area and not just murals for murals sake.
Just to top everything off, the Pandereta players arrived at the mural on the Satuday to evening to play a few songs to the large group of onlookers as a thank you to Licuado for their beautiful mural.
A stunning first mural that has captivated the local community and really set the ball rolling for this month long street art festival. There was a second artist in town the same weekend and I’ll be sharing some info and shots from Roc Blackblocks mural next week.