Street Art in Palma

A city tour with a difference

Palma’s old town has two faces. At first glance, we are enchanted by the medieval city palaces, the magnificent patios, and the elegant Art Nouveau façades. But today we didn’t meet on the Plaza Mayor to follow the tide of tourists. Instead, we allow ourselves to be led through the narrower, darker laneways to the Sa Gerreria quarter. This is where the city reveals its second face which exudes an unexpected, morbid charm.

Street art painted on a garage door

Street art on a garage door in Palma’s Calle Can Pueyo

 

Palma’s second face

 

Even close to the Mercè Church, there are countless empty houses waiting for investors willing to renovate. Until they arrive, the dilapidated façades serve as canvases for urban artists such as Manrique Daniel Durán. The Argentinian’s studio is in the garage of one of these abandoned buildings. The owner appears to have completely lost interest in his properties, and there’s not even a “For Sale” sign to be seen.

Manrique Daniel Durán – an artist and his quarter

Manrique studied art and architecture in Buenos Aires and came to Palma four years ago. His career as a street artist took off when a neighbouring shop owner noticed his neo-Cubist paintings. His colourful motifs now adorn many roller shutters and house walls on Calle Can Vatlori, an otherwise unremarkable street very close to the Plaza Mayor. Manrique wants to breathe new life into the Mercè quarter, which is situated between the two shopping streets, Carrer de Sant Miguel and Carrer des Sindicat, and he has great plans.

Street Artist in front a his painting

Street artist Manrique Durán in front of one of his works on Calle Can Vatlori

A fresh coat of paint for neglected façades

Communal barbecues out on the street are just the beginning, and help to promote a sense of neighbourhood. Together with the shop owners, he is planning to green the street, and Manrique also wants to paint entire houses as part of an artists’ collective – instead of simply doing nothing as the buildings fall into ruin. “If somebody would pay for our materials, we could get started tomorrow,” says Manrique, who describes himself as a romantic. We can only hope that one or other of the house owners will pick up on his altruistic offer. Palma’s second face could do with a little colour.

An open-air gallery close to the Plaza Quadrado

We now take leave of our personable local hero, and continue our artistically-informative guided tour close to the “Molta Barra” bar, which is located on the popular Tapas Route. From here we go down a narrow alleyway which leads to the Plaza Quadrado, where we are astonished to see a derelict façade that has been transformed into a veritable open-air gallery. One of the most striking features are the graffiti by “Soma”, a great asset on the Palma street art scene.

 

Sa Gerreria – a forgotten quarter with great potential

His works may be found on the walls of many houses in the Sa Gerreria quarter which still has a shady reputation, owing to the street prostitutes one encounters in places here. The old town quarter has great development potential, however, something that has also been recognised by the Swedish businessman, Peter Ödlund. He invested millions to transform a derelict building on the Plaza Quartera into a luxury residence. Since May 2013, the Aparthotel Palma Suites has been giving the Sa Gerreria quarter a little, initial sparkle.

The city’s biggest graffiti

We’d like to end our street art tour near the Xesc Forteza theatre. The surprise here is an empty gap between the buildings – otherwise a sad sight – which displays what must be the biggest graffiti in the city. But Palma’s old town still has many surprises up its sleeve with regard to street art. Those who keep their eyes open as they stroll through the narrow streets are certain to strike it lucky.

Big graffiti next to the Teatre Xesc Forteza

Big graffiti next to the Teatre Xesc Forteza

 

 

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