Becha opened up her Lavapiés tailor shop two years ago with a big ambition: to get Spanish people wearing African clothes. But what she never anticipated was that her workshop would become a small hub for African migrants and, further still: a food bank for the local community.
The same spotlights that once shone bright on the faces of Madrid’s rising stars now illuminate food parcels for victims of Lavapiés’ Covid-19 crisis.
Saturday 8pm, May 2, 2020 will be a moment I remember for the rest of my life as the night Madrid took back its city for the first time… in decades.
Lavapiés is a neighbourhood of extremes. It was recently crowned the coolest neighbourhood in the world by Time Out Magazine, but is also one of the most multicultural – and poor – in Spain.
It is only by chance that a small bungalow in Madrid bearing the scars of Nazi shelling still survives. And it is only by pure coincidence that, just a decade ago, this fact came to light when photographer and archeologist Jose Latova stumbled across a photograph taken by the Hungarian war photographer Robert Capa. Its residents share their stories.
As Madrid remains the European epicentre of the coronavirus crisis, the city’s most marginalised groups have been pushed even closer to the edge. Once dependent on charities and local organisations, many migrants are suddenly fending for themselves, but not if the Lavapiés Dragons have anything to do with it.
While ordinary people with ordinary jobs occupy the headlines, there are people whose hero status has become their only form of survival.
At 94, Abuelo’s physical health is enviable to many who are decades younger. These days, his biggest health worry is not coronavirus-related, but that “estas piernas se me están resistiendo”.
There’s so much expectation from the moment babies appear, so much judgment. I feel like I am failing at everything – constantly. Your lack of time can lead to a sense of losing yourself, leading to the conundrum every parent puzzles over: what did I do with all that time before?
Zoom out of Madrid on Google satellite view and red clusters begin to emerge. Between grey, gridded avenues and barren parks, see clusters of winding narrow streets with red roof tiles and tiny plazas, which were once independent towns with their own culture, economy and architecture. Today, even though they lie well within the city limits of Madrid, they remain different.