The center of the mural is taken up by a music band. Around them are some traditional dancers turning around a pole with colored ribbons. Located in the center of Jarandilla (Calle Antonio Serrano, 4), this mural with expressive brush strokes is one of the three works of street art that brighten the façades of this La Vera village. Created by graphic artist Zeta1970, «The Dancers» seeks to homage the region’s traditions and folklore. In his creative process, Zeta1970 was inspired by photos from Jarandilla’s historical archive. “The main objective was to capture the essence of the area’s rural identity. I did some research and decided to center the work around La Vera’s traditional dances. It’s important to remember that Street Art and Graffiti both connect in a very organic way with the social space in which they’re located, because it has an impact on the artists’ concerns and influences“, says the artist Zeta1970, who regularly works with some of the greatest Spanish street artists such as Suso33 and Hosh, and has also put his art at the service of brands such as Nike, Absolut and Coca-Cola.
Each year there are more villages in Spain with painted murals, which besides their artistic value also connect with the local population in a very special way. They become a reminder of their roots, homage their elderly, their past and their present, and help to face the future with optimism. The murals in La Vera are part of the “Muro Crítico” (Critical Wall) Festival for Street Art in the Rural Environment promoted by the Council of Caceres and which attracts artists from all over Spain as well as from abroad, seeks to offer an homage to rural identity without recurring to the typical clichés. “We departed from the essential concepts of the rural environment, but added a very modern artistic perspective,” says Brea (1982), a graffiti artist from Plasencia who participated in the previous year’s Festival with a mural created in the village of Losar de la Vera.
Each year there are about five to ten towns with less than 3,000 inhabitants that sign up for “Muro Crítico” in order to transform some of their least attractive façades into works of street art. There are already around 60 murals to be admired in the Cáceres region, among them in the La Vera villages of Aldeanueva de la Vera, Talaveruela de la Vera, Collado de la Vera, Madrigal de la Vera and Torremenga. Each one is unique work of art, conceived by the artist in question according to guidelines offered by the “Muro Crítico” project and with subjects related to contemporary rural society and environmental sustainability.
«One of the aims of this project is to find a way to facilitate the coexistence between the traditional and a more contemporary view of the rural world»
For his work in Losar de la Vera, the artist Brea for example chose a realist image of a fox, an animal that has a special place within the local fauna. It is undoubtedly the mural that is most appreciated by the village’s inhabitants, while the bright colors and abstract lines of Rosh333’s work do not leave anyone indifferent. This artist from Alicante surprised the locals with his mural, where where he creates a geometrical composition with vividly-colored shapes. “Normally I work only with vertical lines, but as one can see the horizontal line of the mountain crest behind the building’s walls, I wanted to incorporate this natural mountain line into the structure of the painting“, explains Rosh333.
These art interventions in the rural environment and village architecture are definitely risky, as evidenced by the Sebas Velasco’s mural on Jarandilla’s main street. This work seeks to highlight a more contemporary rural identity. A young man is seen in a more urban environment, with a gas station in the background, an image that breaks with the habitual concept of country life. “One of the aims of this project is to find a way to mediate between a more traditional and a more contemporary view of the rural world,” says Zeta2017, underlining that the murals are also a focus of interest for art lovers and are yet another tourist attraction for the La Vera villages.