Requena’s Murals: an Outdoor Museum

When we talk about art and visiting artwork, we usually think of museums, galleries, or similar places, where you pay to see a variety of works. Or perhaps you think of an enclosure with free access, where you can enjoy the painting or the sculptures. But artists are often important presences in towns and cities–they work and play in the streets, they take inspiration from daily life–so, in my opinion, it’s fitting when people have the opportunity to discover artwork in the middle of town, without ever entering a museum.

Urban art is a fascinating way to discover a city, and this is exactly what you can do if you are going to visit Requena in the future. In the last few years, this town has become a big outdoor museum. Taking advantage of the blank side of a number of buildings, town hall decided to fill the town with giant murals. Moreover, all the works are integrated into the surroundings and thematically linked with the traditions of the area.

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I decided to begin my art tour from my home, as most of the murals are within a five minutes’ walk, so the first that I visited was actually the last that they painted. You can find this painting just beside Teatro Principal and it was made by the argentine artist Hyuro. In this work, we see an actress bowing to the public. There are two details that make the mural more interesting, it was painted on two different walls, and the chimney of the building has been used in the work and now is now the actress’s bun.

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The second one is very close to the first, just a few minutes’ walk away. The place where it is located in not as iconic as Teatro Principal, but is a well known street of Requena, calle Constitución. Here, the artists, Bífido y Julieta, used the sides of two buildings to paint a couple of girls holding grapes in a nod to wine making, one of Requena’s main industries. In this mural, paint and laminate are combined, but at the top of the artwork you can see the stresses of the outdoors are taking their toll on the laminate.

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Calle Constitución is very long, so I had to walk to the other side of the street. There, I could see a nice mural. Two young and innovative Requena artists, Paloma Jover and David Fernández, painted this work. I think it’s important that local artists have the opportunity to show their work in such an interesting initiative, and this couple is a great choice. The mural shows a man with a hoe, a boy, and a dog. The boy points to the views of Requena, since at that venue, and in the same large painting, we can also see the views.

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After that, I headed towards old town. The sky was hinting that I should have grabbed an umbrella, but of course I hadn’t. I think that the next mural was one of the first to be painted. On it, there is an old woman making sausage in the traditional way. In addition to wine, Requena is known for its tasty sausages. This work is placed in La Cuesta de las Carnicerías, one of the ways to get to “la Villa.” The artist who painted it was Lula Goce.

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The last stop on my outing was La Fuente de las Pilas, where I found another work by Lula Goce. Once again, the mural was painted on two different buildings. Two children appear to be taking care of the garden and the trees, in fact, the boy is touching a tree that is both in the painting and really in the park. If you look at the mural from a distance you can’t quite distinguish between the original and the painted tree.

In the end, there was no rain. It’s sometimes difficult to know whether it is going to start or not, but I was justified in not grabbing my umbrella. Perhaps it was a bit risky as my pleasant stroll of the murals could have easily been ruined.

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