Main image by Fer Alcalá.
On Sunday February 21st more than 50 artists hit the streets for an artistic declaration against censorship from the Spanish state. This is the second street art protest this month and momentum is growing.
On February 7th, following the announcement that rapper Pablo Hasél would be imprisoned for his songs and tweets, a group of artists gathered to express their indignation through art. There were around 15 passionate artists with something to say, a small crowd of onlookers and a few members of the press. You can read more about the first protest here.
The spark that lit the flame
Within hours, a BCNeta cleaning brigade accompanied by a police van came to erase one of the freshly painted murals. The artwork by Roc BlackBlock denouncing the former king as a thief, among other things, had gone too far, according to someone at the municipal administration.
Apparently it never occurred to them that censoring an artwork in protest of censorship might be a bad idea. Photos of the completed mural were already being shared on social media and its suppression made the story even more appealing.
Shortly after, city officials including Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, issued apologies for the censorship, but the damage was already done.
Following the arrest of Pablo Hasél on February 16th, there have been a number of violent and non-violent demonstrations in Barcelona and around Spain.
The group of street artists decided to come together, once again, to share their indignation for the state’s abuse of authority. This time, three times the number of artists joined the cause and hundreds of onlookers of all ages came throughout the day to support them.
The censored muralist
The mural attracting the most media attention was that of artist RocBlackBlock. In his Twitter account, the graffiti artist has announced: "we will return to the walls to make clear our determination not to be intimidated by censorship and to demand the freedom of Pablo Hasél. "We invite everyone to join the call, to replicate it in each neighborhood, town and city ... Let the walls speak!"
Regarding his new mural, Spain is a Fascist State, the artist had this to say on Instagram:
"Here we are censored, repressed and tortured as in the dictatorship. Second day in defense of freedom of expression and in solidarity with more than 50 urban artists we take to the streets for #freedomapablohasel and against censorship. The best way to defend freedom of speech is to exercise it. Freedom is the only thing that should be inviolable.
You wanted broth, because here you have three cups.