Although street art is deeply connected with gentrification, its message is often precisely the opposite. The spray-painted murals adorning the walls of Madrid speak truths – truths that the passionate graffiti hunter Gerardo taught me how to read. In the secret messages left behind by graffiti writers, I saw not only themes of suffering and discrimination but also a growing backlash against them.
Recent exhibition La Tienda de la Esquina (The Corner Shop) celebrates Madrid’s beautiful antique facades. But, given these old shops are an increasingly endangered species in the Madrid streetscape, you may find yourself cynically wondering if these sculptures are actually miniature death masks.
Conciencia Afro may be a festival that celebrates African identity, but its core purpose is to confront the harsh reality of racism that Madrid’s African community faces on a daily basis.
“These children will become doctors, hairdressers, cooks, rickshaw drivers, photographers – any number of destinies await them. There are potential millionaires, celebrities and probably criminals too and actually, some of them may already have died or had children of their own.”
This is a life drawing by Nathan Brenville, an incredibly talented illustrator with an eye for Madrid’s local treasures, particularly those that are so often overlooked by other artists.
Over recent years, Black Mirror has become somewhat of a benchmark term to describe any remote attempt within fiction to present an alternative reality. However, Dis7opía, which is currently playing at Sala Intemperie in Malasaña, really is 75 minutes of pure Black Mirror – or at least as much as you can ask for with regards to genre, structure and attention to character in a 50-seat, no-frills venue.
You will probably have spotted that Gran Via is home to Madrid’s grandest theatres and its most spectacular shows. However, what isn’t so well-known is that pulsating deep within the barrios of Lavapiés and Arganzuela is a thriving no-frills theatre scene, which emerged hundreds of years ago.
When you first glimpse Marivi Ibarrola’s casually composed photographs of Lavapiés in the 1980s, you feel as if very little has changed. But stare for longer and you’ll see some profound differences: the Tabacalera no longer emits smoke from its chimney, the anarchists have been gentrified out of their squats, and cinemas have been demolished to pave the way for the Lavapiés we hang out in today.
Have you heard about our mission to celebrate the Madrid that most people ignore? Well, it seems we’re not alone. Here are seven unique Instagram accounts that unveil an alternative side to our endlessly fascinating city.
Inside the old lift shaft of a former brothel, we’re holding a 22-photo exhibition throughout the month of December. Each photograph displayed on these walls is connected to one of our articles, helping you explore Madrid’s less-beaten path.