In the Lavapiés neighborhood, located in the center of Madrid, the graffiti adorns every corner: houses, closed shutters of shops, walls, and squares – everywhere!
Sometimes graffiti is a work of art, mostly reflecting the style of the artist, and is designed to simply decorate the space, as we see in our free graffiti tour in Madrid. But what happens in Lavapiés many times, is that the graffiti returns to its original role, and manages to convey messages to passersby.
This painting, called "Prohibido Rendirse" by the artist Álvaro Oskua, is amazing in its simplicity, and in its super important message for these times: We must not give up.
During Covid-19 days, unfortunately, many restrictions affected us all, including slowing down our activity with our free walking tours, such as the free walking tour in classic Madrid, free "La Casa de Papel" tour in Madrid, the culinary tour in Madrid, the tour in Prado Museum, the tour in Reina Sofía museum, and much more.
Among the populations that were most affected, we can find the elderly: they were pushed out almost completely of the public space. Because they are in the at-risk population, they are forced to underestimate going out of the house, more than the rest, the young.
As we see in our free graffiti tour in Madrid, Oskua has chosen to create an exhibition in which he brings them back to the streets, at least in a way that he can do so safely: using graffiti art.
The postcard-like painting is reminiscent of a vacation, when the sea shows us the freedom and hope to return to the normal life. The older guy in the painting is not about vacation though: he is very active, doing sports, with his back to the sea – and with his head ahead.
Of the many paintings that deal with this period of Covid-19 in Madrid, this painting is particularly touching, and gives the most hope. While other graffiti paintings that emerged during the Covid-19 period are mainly about protesting against the government, or interpreting the impact of restrictions on general society – this simple graffiti decides to bring back the elderly population to its rightful place: from being assigned from public space, to appear again, leading the important motto – We must not give up!
At the moment the figure of the senior in sportswear on the beach is far from reality, and travelling safe in Madrid during Covid-19 times is still in its beginning. But this painting is here, in the city center of Madrid, in order to remind us that it's only a temporary matter. And when the period is over, we will receive with open arms, in a hug and without masks, the older generation who are an integral part of the city's landscape.
In our renewed free graffiti tour in Madrid, which has adapted itself to the changes that have taken place in the city in recent months, we will dedicate a significant part to getting to know the people who make Lavapiés and Embajadores what they are. The message that the graffiti paintings send us one by one, is that the people who make these neighborhoods so special are... everyone! Men and women, black and white, as well as adults and young people alike.
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