‘Freedom, Communism, A Mannequin’
A surreal scene during Catalan protests in Barcelona in October last year.
A mannequin is unmoved as a fashion store window is daubed with a red hammer and sickle and a yellow freedom protest ribbon. Leafy trees and the sky are reflected in the window, giving a sense of calm in the general unrest.
‘House Of Cats’
One from the travel archives to brighten the day of feline lovers, or art lovers for that matter.
This shot was taken in Barcelona late last year. I was taken by the varied cat images and soft colour geometric highlights on the wall of a central city building.
Not until sometime later did I notice the curling shape at top left of the image.
The tail of a mystery black cat perhaps?
A flashback to my time in Barcelona late last year (loved the sheer style of this old building!), on account of hearing on the news of lockdown restrictions lifting in Spain.
The country has suffered more than most with Covid-19, but it brought some joy to see footage of children who had been prevented from going outside for weeks, finally playing in the spring sunshine.
When I was there, there was an entire week of Catalan protests, culminating in marches involving over 500,000 persons. I had never seen so many people in one place in my life, let alone such purposeful and agitated crowds!
Contrast that with the deserted Spanish cities under lockdown currently.The television shots of the main centres have been emphatically eerie and quiet.
But the laughter of children running around in parks is a small sign that maybe are heading in the direction of our dreams, rather than being haunted by with a nightmare.
There are no people in my picture, but I hope that those cooped up inside the fantastical building right now, and all around Spain, and elsewhere , get some sense of normality and freedom soon.
Stay safe until then!
Barcelona Estacio de Franco October 2019
Numbered platforms, nameless people.
Coming and going as they please, or as they must.
For every departure, an arrival.
From a short distance I observe those on the platforms coming and going.
I am a stranger here, but am a fellow journey maker, so there is a momentary affinity of sorts.
Even the sweeping ironwork of the grand station roof speaks of the lines and curves of travel.
There is wonderment in such a place, but always anticipation of the next destination.
For we must keep moving…
In the interest of balance ,and because I said I would ( see the previous post
Two Spanish Flags ),here is the Catalan flag.
Well, two of them to be precise. Perfectly balanced then…
The flags fly in Barcelona as a political statement in an age old pursuit of freedom from Spanish governance and of an independent Catalunya.
Very interesting to observe firsthand (and get caught up in at times) the recent separatist unrest there.
But, regardless of politics, the Catalan flag wins over its national rival in terms of simplicity and sheer drawability.
Both however, are the bold and vibrant designs and symbols of proud peoples.
Continuing with the previous post’s theme, here are two Spanish flags draped from apartments next to where we stayed in Barcelona recently.
This is of course a political statement in a city that is the hotbed of Catalunya’s separatist movement.
I’ll get to the Catalans next.
My main concern however is for Spanish kids – all children have to draw their nations’s flag at some point – the crest on the flag is off-centre and is a piece of rather complicated heraldry.
Good luck sketching that one, el nino…
“Pigeons: They’ve got wings, but they walk a lot.” – Karl Pilkington
Shallow, but true.
As shallow as a sundrenched Spanish plaza littered with pigeons not using their wings much…
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
A personal favourite of the photos I took on my recent visit to the cathedral (and I took a shitload, if I can use profanity in proximity to the sacred).
Just one view of a small portion of the Gaudi structure.
So many many fragments to the seamless whole it is mindboggling – true visionary stuff.
(Holy Family is an English translation of Sagrada Familia).
Positively scary leonine door knocker in Barcelona.
One hopes that there is something equally intimidating behind the door!
A statue of Mary appears to float within an arch on a church wall in Barcelona.
There is of course a small ledge on which the icon sits,but it is a neat trick of religion to create images and symbols to inspire, and to aspire to.
Apart from the prayerful pose and purity of her robes,the Madonna levitates above the ground, but is well below heaven.
Someone to look up to, or just another struggling seeker?
One wild drinking fountain in Barcelona beckons, when time comes to slake your thirst.
Three human faces, appearing as if in a masquerade, frame the fountain’s taps .
Above them a supine lion crouches beneath an armoured crest -paws, claws and all.
The whole shebang elevates a utilitarian water dispensary into an artful world.
Sustenance for the imagination as well as the body.
And that lion sure looks like he could do with a drink…
Crowds throng La Rambla on an autumn afternoon.
Barcelona’s iconic street, and the district named for it, teems with locals enjoying the sunshine.
So, when in this part of Barcelona one does as the locals do in this place: Lick a gelato(check!); chomp on tapas (check!); buy a football scarf to wear (check!); slurp a beer(nah,don’t drink!) and sit on a bench and people watch (check! check! check! – and in my case take photos like these).
Just very cool!
Old Barcelona building shrouded by leaves in the afternoon light.
Loved my time in the grand city, but it was time to leave…
A tile mosaic in Barcelona’s Rambla precinct shows the famous gypsy dancer Carmen in full flight. The operatic story by Bizet is brought to mind immediately.
Great street art is everywhere in Barcelona!
So too,unfortunately ,is graffiti such as the yellow tagging that besmirches the mosaic.
Demonstrating that not all forms of self- expression are equal…
Fifteen candles on a candelabra in the sacristy of Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia, which I was fortunate to visit yesterday.
Very elegant in a gothic sort of way.
Sort of complicated too, for an article whose sole purpose is to shed a little light on things.
But that is religion in a nutshell I guess…
I have posted elsewhere on this blog on my attraction to curving, non-linear forms.
They are truly like life,which as we all can attest, does not run in straight lines.
Antoni Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona has taken that principle to extremes.
Observing that straight lines are only rarely found in nature, and from his belief that true art must stem from nature, he created many stunning and idiosyncratic designs in this town.
Pictured is the facade of the famous Casa Batllo in the central city.
The appeal to me,and the hordes of visitors to Gaudi’s creations, is that of nature’s truth.
What at first appears as fantasist madness is actually something that speaks to us deeply.
As an aside, Barcelona, apart from the old Rambla area in the centre has a grid street network and I have managed to lose direction several times in its maze of straight line roads!
Freedom and love – no one can argue with those sentiments.After all, they are what we all desire, right?
I have also heard it said that those two things have been used to justify virtually every abomination of mankind, including war.
The banners adorning this building in Barcelona are in fact part of a political protest movement for an independent Catalunya.
During the week there have been angry protests and civil insurrection here. Shouting, chanting, rubbish bins burnt and the police on high alert.
If only life was as straightforward as a banner slogan!
It is said that eyes are windows to the soul.
These Barcelona windows at night are like a pair of eyes.
Showing an inner light and gazing on the passers-by and the goings on.
They will have seen it all and will know the true soul of this place.
Me, I am just a stranger here, with eyes of wonder in this spectacular city…