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Granada's Outdoor Gallery:
Street Art for All

31 August 2016 | Mri Grout

I, as many others before and after me I am sure, grew up in a society where we were told of the absolute disgust we must feel when laying eyes on graffiti. It was a sign of gangs, of poverty, of a society made up of untamed savages. It could never be beautiful or thought-provoking or seen as something other than a shameful tagging. It held no purpose in our society to the point that every piece found should have been reported to a special hotline. This was the view I was conditioned to believe about graffiti.

But as Rob and I traveled through the narrow streets of Granada those views could not help but be challenged. For here, the graffiti wasn't just mindless tagging that degraded the city; rather, due to the exquisite pieces hidden throughout the town, it had been transformed into the biggest outdoor gallery the world has ever seen.

The street art in Granada was thought provoking, heart pulling, and mindfully captivating. Each piece spoke on many different levels in many different ways to many different people. So below are my interpretations and feelings on the ones I liked best; afterwards I would love to hear yours in the comments below.

street art of a fighting rat in Granada

A fighting rat. A kickass painting. A show of defiance against a system built to see its people as trash. We might get scruffed up. We might be living at the bottom of the barrel, too shunned to show our faces amongst our own, but we will not give up. We will keep fighting for a better life, for a better future, regardless of the beatings we will get for doing so. We are all fighting rats for we all are survivors.

Now I'm not art professional, but this street art painting reminds me very much of Van Goh's Starry Night. And anything associated with fills me with a childhood warmth of family dinners and happiness. A calming place in the middle of a storm. I know the serenity will pass soon, but for the moment, as I stare at this painting by the Evolution of a Goddess, everything is quiet and sorted. My shoulders are lifted, my spirit settled, my mind calmed...for now.

This street art surrounded by colorful graffiti is just awesome. No idea what 'Gasta' means, but does it even matter? Just look at the amazing craft of the blue devil in this piece situated off a popular roundabout in Granada. Just wow, right?

I know the fading probably wasn't part of the original idea, but I can't help to see it as a positive addition to this heart-wrenching piece. It adds a new layer for me, a new terrifying and sorrowful layer to an already heart-breaking piece. Here is a girl clearly weighted down with whatever horrors occupy her mind. Here is a girl, sitting on the tree of life that's home to all of these eyes and a bird painted a calming blue. Here is a girl who is sharing her misery in hopes of having it changed into an uplifting spirit. But no such comfort comes, not from the trees nor the eyes nor the laughing bird. And so she begins to fade away, her story erased from this world in the most wretched (and unfortunately, common) of ways.

In a sea of fish, what happens when you want to be a lizard? Or a bird? Do you still get caught by the circling cats? Or can you fly away because they're expecting you to swim? Or run on to land and a new world because those pulling the strings think it can't be done? What happens when you step out of the boxes the cats want to place you in? And how can I become the turtle instead of a prey under a difffernt name?

Just another cool looking piece. I like how it wrapped around the corner as if the tree's connection, and our connection to the earth, was lost to the majority. But not completely, for it's still there, just waiting to be found once more. Maybe the man with the long arms and hairy shoulders will find it, but maybe not. Maybe he'll just walk back to civilization and lose himself in the internet.

This piece of street art is located right next to the Starry Night Dancer one in Granada's city center. It too was created by the Evolution of a Goddess and promotes a sense of calm, though of a slightly different sort. To me, this piece claims that we're all connected, from the tiny fish in the sea to the sturdy bull, to the building societies of humankind. The moon and the grass, the sunlight and the trees. Because we're all connected on some level, we're never truly alone.

*I haven't given any coordinates to go along with them because I think the best way to discover this side of the city is to simply get lost and see what you can find. Happy hunting!

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What are your thoughts about the graffiti in Granada and around the world? Should it be removed due to being ugly graffiti or encouraged as an expression of free art?