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Parees Fest: five years transforming Oviedo 2021-10-05

Parees Fest: five years transforming Oviedo

The 5th edition of contextual muralism festival Parees Fest, promoted by the Municipal Foundation of Culture, took place last September and has closed a five-year period of mural interventions with some 30 large-format works by local, national and international artists.
Parees Fest has achieved in these five years that neighbors, organizations and specialists get involved in the joint elaboration of murals that are always tributes to Asturian characters, traditions and events, in a unique mix of art and history. Almost all the neighborhoods of Oviedo, and towns such as Olloniego, Trubia or Tudela Veguín, have walls that are no longer just walls, but memory and people.
This year was a really special edition as we could manage to purpose again some activities (last year was under all the restrictions due to Covid-19), and also celebrated proudly this fifth anniversary.

The Catalan artist Alba Fabre Sacristán created an exquisite impressionist mural, where light and movement draw the figure of two “Sidros” captured in full jump.
The “Sidros” and the “Mascaradas de Invierno” are Asturian and pagan traditions. Members of these groups (traditionally men, but some women can wear the costume since 2019) are celebrating jumping, dancing, making noise with cowbells, and with improvised sarcastic comedy about what happened in the village during the year. This ritual existed in various places, but almost disappeared with Franco.

It’s related to Winter’ solstice, fertility and the beginning of adulthood for young men. On the contrary of Carnival, masks are not to hide, but to show the archetypes of the characters of the comedy (the ugly ones, the handsome ones, animals, natural elements…)

The artist met the association Sidros y Comedies El Cencerru before, during and after the process of the mural in order she could perfectly understand the background and the stories behind theses costumes (she could even wear one and dance with the “Sidros”).

The Primitive “Camino de Santiago”, different from the busiest French Way, starts in Oviedo and takes pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela.
In 2015, it was recognized by the UNESCO, along with the “Camino del Norte”, as a “World Humanity Heritage Site”, the highest distinction that a cultural asset can receive.

It is a magnificent route that crosses Asturias and Galicia, but is also known for its difficulty, due to the peculiarity of the landscape (all guides recommend an advanced level of hiking).

The American artist Emily Eldridge created after some meeting with historians a mural full of colours, representing a “modern” pilgrim, with a skirt and painted nails, walking happily towards her next stage.

Perhaps a way to remember that, although originally those who ventured on the Camino were men and devotees, today it is also an international destination for all nature lovers. In this portrait, you can see flowers, but also thorns, and a hairstyle in the shape of a ladder, which recall the beauty and harshness of this Camino.

Among Parees Fest’ Asturian themes, those with literary content stand out, such as the murals dedicated to Clarín or Dolores Medio.

To illustrate the famous story “Montesín” by María Josefa Canellada, a philologist and one of the main Asturian writers of the last century, the Asturian artist Foni Ardao explored the tender relationship between the lost goat and her little caretakers.

A well-deserved honour to the first children’s book in Asturian, written in 1979, where we can see the goat Montesín in the arms of the girl, in the lands below l’Escorial, while the boy plays the guitar with his friend the magpie on his shoulder. Surrounded by nature and heated by a fire, the characters convey a lot of peace and sweetness.
Foni added to his mural a tribute to his mother, Margarita, who died just over a year ago, represented by the flower bearing her name in the girl’s hair.

For this edition, the Italian Luogo Comune has painted a huge mural dedicated to Oviedo.
The inspiration has been provided by citizen testimonies, the personal stories of dozens of people who participated in the campaign “What do you think makes the city of Oviedo special?”.

The answers to this question, launched by Parees Fest and the City Council’s Citizen Participation Area, were transferred to the artist, who has composed a work that combines history and nature, the pre-Romanesque past and the proximity of the mountain in its iconography.

Parees Fest, in addition to combining local and foreign artists, and focusing on Asturian customs and characters, develops a participatory process for each mural with the mediation of the collective Raposu Roxu. The process extends the influence of the mural, by allowing citizens to experience the works as their own. It is not about an artist to capture his vision, but rather to collect the feeling and history of the place, the expectations of the neighbors and the legacy that each issue that is addressed means.
On the facades of Oviedo, we thus find memories of mining, tambourines that fuse folklore and feminism, Tino Casal (a really famous singer in Spain, native from Asturias), traditional sports or tributes to Margarita Salas (a famous woman scientist) and the San Claudio Faience Factory. Decades of history transferred to our present.

The fifth edition has also been able to recover some parallel activities suspended last year due to Covid-19, such as the Muralism Experimentation Workshop for Families coordinated by Yetooponese. Or the new activity “Beyond the mural”, two tours of the works in progress in which the public has been able to learn about the processes and chat with the artists. The visits were also broadcast live on our social networks.

Photos: Mira Hacia Atrás y Fer Alcalá


Location of the walls for this edition:


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