Fanzara: Graffiti everywhere
A small village in Spain with the most amazing story behind. To start with, embracing graffiti and street art has saved it from disappearing …
Where is Fanzara?
Never heard of Fanzara? – You´re not the only one. Tourists mostly end up heading to the same places and the best stories are always hidden. Even 90% of Spanish people won’t be able to point out this little village on the map. By the way, it is located in the Province of Castellon/Valencian Community. But what makes Fanzara special?!
The story of Fanzara
Home to more or less 300 people, Fanzara was about to make it to the list of “Spain’s dying villages” until its streets were converted to an open-air Museum. Around 15 graffiti artists were invited by the young generation of locals to transform the village. Thanks to their amazing works more and more art lovers discover the unique graffitis of Fanzara every year.
The citizens of Fanzara are the nicest and friendliest people ever. Since it is a tiny village where everyone knows everyone, the locals immediately notice you´re “not from here” and try to assist you in every possible way. They always smile at you and say “hi” or “welcome”, wherever you go. While I was taking pictures, a local woman was leaving her home nearby. Suddenly she approached me and asked, whether I had a city map with all the graffiti works marked and gave me some useful tips on what not to miss. So when you´re in Fanzara, stop the first person you see – they´d be delighted to help you.
Is Graffiti an Art?
It´s no secret graffiti is mostly officially prohibited everywhere in the world and lots people just don´t understand this art form or don´t see it as an art at all. And I agree with those who say the word “hi” on the wall is not an art, but at the same time Fanfara´s graffitis are definitely art works. As well as those at the East Side Gallery in Berlin and many others worldwide.
There tends to be a gap between young and old generations: it might be hard to explain your grandmother this particular modern art piece is beautiful. So, can you imagine the old local lady explaining you the meaning behind the certain graffiti work?! – Only in Fanzara.
I won’t lie: I admire how the older and more conservative locals in Fanzara supported the younger generations with this (not very usual) initiative. And by this I don´t mean “lets paint the walls everywhere and turn Paris into an open-air museum as well”. Every city has it´s own story and I love stepping back into history everywhere. Tiny rural villages could also be unique: a slower pace of life, artisans, antiques, local traditions…
But what if a certain village is already in ruins? What if it was rebuilt several times, therefore has no historical value? What if the government doesn´t care and people are forced to leave in search of jobs and better life? – The citizens of Fanzara took their lives in their own hands and transformed the old and ruined city streets into an open-air gallery.
Just in a few weeks, a dying village turned into a cultural triumph. Fanzara ended up being different and unique.
Graffiti, Art and Future
Fanzara keeps attracting more and more art lovers every day. Its murals are supposed to be painted over regularly, so they would echo the story of the village. I absolutely loved my day there and happy to share the story of Fanzara with people across the globe …who would´t agree after all that art is eternal.