We have art expositions, galleries, and Instagram and we have the urban walls to show our feelings in a creative way. Right now they are very powerful superficies to express oneself, privately or publically. José Félix Valdivieso, head of the “IE China Center”, has recently published a book about the force of graffiti, many of them are not from as famous artists like Banksy, but even anonymous. As a real fanatic about cultures and languages his bilingual version of “Grafitis del mundo” (Premio Internacional “Cuadernos de laberinto” de Pensamiento, 2020) in Spanish and English, tells us stories, sometimes fiction and sometimes real, about the art on the walls in big cities around the planet. However, the reader gets an idea that there is a global link between all of them. It is a protest most of the time and sometimes an expression of love.
Born in Brussels the Spaniard travels around the world, for his job and as well for private pleasure. Like a journalist the writer likes to take notes about his impressions, he is interested in the story behind this many graffiti we pass by every day in our towns on the way to work or when we visit cities like New York or Hamburg. Since on many occasions it is not known what is the story behind the painting, Valdivieso invents it with great creativity and sensibility. From Paris to Moscow he has chosen graffitis he wants to show to the reader, because “he knows” the story of it. Some have to do with love, others have a political message, others a social background. They all have in common one thing: sensibility about the environment, feelings, and social context.
As Banksy has expressed on several occasions with his work: graffiti is art, but also a strong political statement, and a very powerful one. Some of them can be just “dirty messages” for the spectator, others really have an impact. No one knows more about it as Banksy whose greatest works are exposed right now in Madrid in the “Circulo de Bellas Artes”.
Valdivieso tries to let know the world also other graffitis and their background. Every painting is well situated and documented in the book. A very nice idea to read story by story throughout a certain period of time because it gives us the feeling of dreaming away right now that we hardly can travel. My favorite graffiti of Valdivieso’s book is one from Paris: “God Create” the heavens and the world, everything else was made in China”. They are not just artists, graffitists are poets sometimes, too.