Barcelona is known the world over for its works of art and its distinct architecture, but delve into each street and you will find that the artistic scene of Barcelona manifests itself in many different ways. Beyond Antonio Gaudí’s masterpieces, the city has a very vibrant street culture – graffiti art, sculptures, music and the environment create an enthralling and diverse combination of artistic and cultural displays, filling Barcelona with an inspiring, palpable atmosphere.
The unsung artists of Barcelona’s contemporary art ccene
Marica: “Barcelona is a city full of surprises. Here, you will find different forms of art almost everywhere, not only in ancient churches and Gaudí’s marvellous architecture, but also in the maze of narrow streets and alleys.
“I was walking near Park Güell, (one of Gaudí’s great works in the Gràcia neighbourhood and a must-see when in Barcelona) when I came across this image. The way these beautifully painted zebras, almost perfectly aligned with the motorbikes, intrigued me. I have always loved graffiti art; it is like the street silently tells you a story and the artistic scene of Barcelona has thousands of colourful stories to tell.”
Vivid street life
Etienne Despois: “As a photographer and traveller, I’m always looking for places with an interesting urban feeling, and in this respect, Barcelona may be one of the greatest cities.
“This shot of the artistic scene of Barcelona was taken just a stone’s throw from my hotel and that’s one of the great things about Barcelona; it’s like the city’s charm and energy sneaks up on you, much like this image. It’s as though the figure interacts with the passer-by, lightly mocking him. I was lucky enough to have my Holga camera in my bag to capture this unexpected shot, so be prepared – the city is sprawling with spirited moments like this one.”
The sound of Barcelona
Olga Krayevska: “It was my very first day in Barcelona and one of those perfect warm October evenings. We were walking aimlessly in the Gothic Quarter after dinner and just stopped to listen to this street musician.
“He played the famous Spanish guitar with the kind of passion that was contagious. When I look at this picture now, it seems that I can still hear the music and feel the warm wind on my skin. It is incredible how passionate this city is and when you’re there, the best you can do is to succumb to its mood.”
Where the modern enhances the old
Joan Garcia Ferre: “This striking building is the home of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, with a superb Catalan collection and incredible views of the city in front of you. It is located in Montjuïc and at your feet there is this magical fountain, with a magnificent water and light show.
“This building, in less than 100 years of its history, has seen the city transform itself, yet it remains steadfast to remind us we are still in Barcelona. This shot represents the city’s past, present and future, thanks to the city’s ongoing modernisation, whilst staying true to its rich cultural traditions.”
History comes alive
Bob Duncan: “I fell in love with Barcelona from the first time I emerged from the metro system onto the streets via the exit at Plaza Catalunya – the city was brimming with creative vitality. As a photographer I did my best to capture images of some of its great statues.
“When I came upon this spectacular piece, I had to find out more about it. I googled it and discovered that it was named ‘Barcelona’. It was sculpted by one of Catalonia’s most gifted sons, Frederic Marès, and features a woman holding a ship above her head atop a great horse. The ship represents the international status Barcelona achieved in the world of commerce: The God of Trade, Mercury, is leading the way.
“One night I set up my tripod and made a long exposure. Due to the lens being held open for a long time, the black bronze surface took on the reflective night lights surrounding it. The camera had the Midas touch and transformed the monument into a masterpiece gilded in gold.”
Even the environment is an artist
José Miguel Serna: “This photograph was taken during my first week living in Barcelona. I had just left work and decided to explore the area where I lived near Bonanova – a forested, residential area. To my surprise, I came across this beautiful centenary tree perched on the rooftop of an office building; an example of the city’s natural environment perfectly juxtaposed with a modern structure.
“In a city filled with wonderful and surreal moments like this one, it’s easy to understand why the artistic scene of Barcelona inspired me to become a photographer.”
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