Between the 20th and 30th of October 2022, eight international and national street artists created murals in the neighbourhood of Santa Isabel, celebrating the Asalto Festival‘s seventeenth season in Zaragoza with some of the largest murals in its history.
Artists invited this year include Diego Vicente, Isa Nieto, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Murfin, Noemí Calvo, Nulo, Txemy and Zane Prater.
Community participation in the project has been fundamental for this festival that goes beyond artistic expression, establishing itself as an essential catalyst for urban regeneration and social dialogue.
All artists have engaged with the history and origins of the neighbourhood sensitively, enveloping the dimensions of the physical space and structures and establishing bonds with community members and neighbours, who have been delighted to welcome a colourful new daily horizon.
Diego Vicente has returned to his school days; his memories and child-like landscapes with cheerful, colourful, abstract imagery are in the courts of Espartidero. The mural takes its name from a verse in the song “Un país” by Ixo Rai and Labordeta: “Dust, fog, wind and sun”.
Isa Nieto has been inspired by the agricultural and rural origins of the neighbourhood, leaving an imprint in the vicinity of the bar “La Maison” with a mural that talks about the roles of women working in fields. It includes a distinctively regional plant, borage (Borago officinalis), also known as starflower.
Kyle Hughes-Odgers has deeply confronted the heights on one of the largest walls featured this year. Loaded with orange, yellow and blue tones, this mural represents a family surrounded by nature and vegetation, celebrating life and humanity.
Murfin, who became a graffiti artist at age 9, worked with an exceptional supporter and friend of the Asalto festival, Lidia Cao, on another large mural on the wall of the Bodegas Perdiguer courtyard. The mural is one of their most significant projects, with a nod to three-dimensionality. The image proposes a dialogue between the past and the present, showcasing two figures of women as a tribute to women artists that the art history world has silenced for far too long.
The contribution of Zaragozan Noemí Calvo plays with small scale and interactivity: she has filled the houses of Santa Isabel with “tiny houses”. This project was made possible through collaboration and spirited efforts from the elementary students of Colegio Guillermo Fatás, Youth House members and the local Seniors’ Center users.
Although in naif abstractions, more women are presented in the murals of Nulo, who has paid homage to the Saint for whom the neighbourhood is named. On two facades found in the Calle Tertulia surroundings, the community is invited to consider a mural that summarizes the pillars of the Asalto festival (abstraction and colour) where the intention was to reflect the kindness of this woman but also her combative, even “feminist” identity.
Txemy was struck by how the old is integrated with the new in the idiosyncrasies and personality of the neighbourhood. He has translated it into his creative process of layers and glazes, which little by little reveal more about the final version of the mural (echoing the layers marking the urban evolution of its streets or the stages of one’s life). The resulting mural mixes the figurative, the graphic and the abstract. According to the artist, it also evokes the freedom and rhythm of musical compositions closely linked to his work.
Finally, Zane Prater’s mural talks about the importance of nature in sustaining our society. Presided over by two figures of women with a certain mysterious glow, this work of great elegance, beauty and impact invite us to reflect on our relationship with the environment.
The artists joined other local illustrators, creators and collectives such as Beatriz Entralgo, Bernal, Danjer, Ira Torres, Ruben Hervás, Tintaentera, Jesana Motilva, Vera Galindo and Fabiola Correas etc. All the artists took to their canvases and workshops for the “Espacio Asalto”, creating a critically reflective meeting point for the community.
These murals have been the third of the milestones that have made up this year of Asalto, after the celebration of the exhibition “The colour of the public” (from June 2 to 18 September) and Parada Asalto, with the intervention of Aragonese illustrators at the city’s tram stops.
The Asalto Festival is supported by Zaragoza City Council with the collaboration of Tranvías de Zaragoza, Ambar and Montana Colors. This is the festival’s seventeenth year, and with its nomadic spirit, more than 315 artists have created colourful abstract gathering spaces across the city.
Photo credit Asalto Festival