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"Short stories and travel reports from my life adventures around the globe".

Travel Report: Street Art in Malaga.

Andalusian woman mural Malaga street art

Street Art in Malaga.

2016-2017. I’ve always been a lover of urban street art. No matter what city I find myself in, I try to get at least a few shots of the most colourful and arresting murals. After my trip to Berlin (a fantastic street art city!) in April 2013, I thought how cool it would be to do a series of street art reports from around the world.

Sadly, I lacked the discipline to get the project off the ground. Eventually, in 2016, I found myself so in awe of Malaga’s street art that I pushed myself to spend a day mural hunting.

Guadelmedina Malaga.

The Guadelmedina, Malaga.

My first stop was one of Malaga’s most neglected spots, the dried up stone wasteland of the Guadelmedina River. At first glance it’s a bit of an eyesore, with broken beer bottles, dead birds, unsightly graffiti and groups of smoking, hoodie-wearing teens glaring at outsiders with distrustful eyes.

Street Art in Malaga.

Guadelmedina Street Art Malaga.

Mural by Dadi Dreucol.

However, take the steps down into the riverbed and you’ll find some amazing art. One of the first pieces I found was this untitled creation by Dadi Dreucol, a Malaga born painter and photographer. Having studied at The Malaga School of Fine Arts, he has since spent years painting the city walls with his distinctive images.

Nearly all his work features the same bearded, half naked dude. According to the artist himself, the man is semi autobiographical and exists free from the rules of society. Moreover, his images deal loosely with themes of sanity and the environment.

Striking street mural in Malaga.

Street Art in Malaga.

The riverbed mural project was started by Maus, a social project that works with local residents and artists from all over the world. Their aim is to transform run down urban areas through art and leave a cultural legacy that affects residents’ day to day lives.

Ursula Little Mermaid mural Malaga.

“Those poor unfortunate souls!!! So sad, so true. They come flocking to my cauldron”.

I liked how most of the riverbed murals deal with water themes, providing some much needed flowing imagery to compensate for all that dry stone. It was particularly fun to see a large painting of the villainous Ursula from The Little Mermaid, a Disney flick my sister and I used to devour as kids.

Lagunillas.

Girl sleeping in fruit art Malaga.

Street art in Malaga.

The city’s largest concentration of street art has sprung up in its most troubled neighbourhood, Lagunillas. Situated northeast of the historical centre, the district fell into a state of disrepair and social degradation in 2008. A victim of Malaga’s economic woes.

Street graffiti Lagunillas Malaga.

Street art in Malaga.

Devastated by abandoned homes, closed businesses and a growing community of drug addicts and criminals, for many years the police declared Lagunillas a no go zone to law abiding citizens. Happily, by the time I arrived in 2016, things were starting to improve.

Street art Malaga.

A street mural in Lagunillas.

First came a neighbourhood wide cleanup and a new drug rehabilitation centre. Then there were new trees, bushes, flower beds and a few benches. A number of dedicated neighbourhood associations, such as Fantasy in Lagunillas and The Future is Very Grease, kicked off an ambitious plan to fill Lagunillas with art.

Zorro Inquieto Street art Malaga.

Street art in Malaga.

Their achievements have been nothing short of inspirational! Through art workshops and contributions from established painters, Lagunillas has been turned into an art wonderland! It’s still growing too, with over a hundred murals to date. And while this particular Spar store remained closed at the time of my visit, slowly but surely businesses were starting to reopen.

Street Art in Malaga.

Plaza Esperanza Malaga.

Plaza Esperanza.

At the centre of it all stands Plaza Esperanza (Hope Square). Once an old abandoned parking lot, now it’s a flourishing park, basketball court and community centre that puts on occasional plays and musical performances. The Zaragoza born artist Doger painted the square’s main mural.

Violinist street art Malaga.

The Violinist by Doger.

Doger fans can find over a dozen of the artist’s paintings across Malaga. Another of his murals, The Violinist, is also in the neighbourhood on Calle Lagunillas.

El Chamorro Singer mural Malaga.

El Chamorro Mural.

Several adored singers have been honoured in the murals of Lagunillas. Take El Chamorro, for example, an insanely talented Flamenco singer famed for his ferocious vocal delivery. In the late 1980s he was on the verge of great things, having become a star in the clubs of The Costa del Sol. Unfortunately, his addictions to alcohol and smoking altered his voice and ruined his career.

El Chamorro Spanish singer.

Street Art in Malaga.

By the mid 1990,  El Chamorro had become homeless and lost all but one of his front teeth. Over the past decade he’s been singing for tips around the squares of Malaga. Indeed I saw him myself once when he performed on Plaza de la Merced.

While the irreversible damage to his voice was clear for all to hear, there were nevertheless traces of the brilliance that had once thrilled so many. The mural, which references one of his songs, is a fitting tribute to an incredible talent.

The Malaga Murals.

Pepito Vargas mural Malaga.

Pepito Vargas Mural.

Nearby, there’s also a mural dedicated to Pepito Vargas, one of Spain’s most celebrated Flamenco dancers. Born in Malaga, he spent sixty years dancing all over the world before retiring in his hometown, where he saw out his final days.

Old woman street mural Malaga.

Street art in Malaga.

Meanwhile, the award for Most Terrifying Mural goes to Jose Luis Bogart and his untitled depiction of an elderly woman in traditional dress clutching a fan. No kidding, it felt like she was looking right into my soul.

New build Lagunillas Malaga.

Signs of a new dawn in Lagunillas.

As a result of Lagunillas’ regeneration, people are actually starting to move back into the neighbourhood. I spoke to a young couple who’d bought a dirt-cheap, dilapidated house, while there were also a few new apartment blocks under construction. This one, probably finished by now, is on Calle Roque Garcia.

Street Art in Malaga.

Visit Malaga Malaga street art.

The Jewish Square, Malaga.

Malaga’s most popular collection of murals sits in The Jewish District on Plaza de la Juderia. In 2010 construction of a new synagogue began here, although the entire project was later abandoned.

In an attempt to cover up the hideous building site, a number of artists came to paint sections of the outer wall. Once again Doger was involved, contributing the alluring Andalusian woman with a red rose in her hair.

Street art Plaza de la Juderia Malaga.

Street Art in Malaga.

This part of the wall is by Miguel Ángel Belinchón Bujes, better known as Belin. Inspired by the great Pablo Picasso (also from Malaga), his painting is a “post Neo Cubism” portrait of his daughter Natalia.

Mermaid graffiti Malaga.

Not aware that Ursula is in town.

I really enjoyed my day seeking out street art in Malaga. I took countless photos, hence I certainly wasn’t short of images for this article. Rather, the challenge was in finding solid info on the murals I’d captured.

Not wanting to leave out some of my favourite shots, I’ll wrap this piece up with a final string of murals I photographed that day.

Rooster street art Malaga.

Street art in Malaga.

Amazing street art Malaga.

Abandoned building Lagunillas Malaga.

Interested in visiting Malaga? Why not consider a tour of the city’s graffiti and murals with Streetartmalaga.com

Like this? Why not check out more of my travel reports from Malaga.

To delve further afield, I’ve also written articles from across Andalusia and all over Spain.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

Leighton Travels logo travel reports and short stories.

28 Comments

  • ThingsHelenLoves

    Fascinating. I love that so many feature people , forges a connection between people , place and art.

    January 4, 2021 - 9:30 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad you liked it Helen! And yes, I totally agree, art is a powerful bridge for all aspects of the human condition.

      January 4, 2021 - 9:38 am Reply
  • Stella

    I’m a big fan of street art, so thanks for this. It’s good to see other examples. Have you been to Kiev? It’s a big thing there too, and I recommend it highly if you’re interested, and you get the chance.

    January 4, 2021 - 9:50 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Stella, nice to hear from you! I haven’t been to Kiev, it’s like a missing link as I travelled the region extensively in the early noughties. Thanks for the recommendation, would love to make it there someday.

      January 4, 2021 - 9:54 am Reply
  • jasonlikestotravel

    Wow, I had no idea Malaga was so good for street art! Another reason for me to visit! There’s some great pieces here, love the Ursula piece too!

    January 4, 2021 - 10:32 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers Jason, I enjoyed your 2020 overview. Hopefully, you can get back on the road in 2021 and make up for some of last year’s disappointments. Happy New Year!

      January 4, 2021 - 10:34 am Reply
      • jasonlikestotravel

        I’m pleased. Hopefully we both have a lot more adventure this year. Happy New Year!

        January 4, 2021 - 10:40 am
  • WanderingCanadians

    I love all the urban street art, this is something that we don’t have a lot of in Toronto.

    January 4, 2021 - 1:07 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading guys!

      January 4, 2021 - 1:23 pm Reply
  • Jyothi

    Interesting collection! Great Post!

    January 4, 2021 - 3:33 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Jyothi!

      January 4, 2021 - 3:36 pm Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    I’m also drawn to street art. Enjoyed these! Although the old woman didn’t scare me – she looked like she was still going to enjoy the dance and traditional dress regardless of her age.

    January 4, 2021 - 5:23 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I’m sure that she has a heart of gold 😉 Thanks for reading, Ruth!

      January 4, 2021 - 5:25 pm Reply
  • Marie

    Brilliant – was in Malaga about 15 months ago and spotted a few pieces …. wish I’d paid more attention!!!

    January 4, 2021 - 6:13 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading Marie!

      January 4, 2021 - 6:24 pm Reply
  • Memo

    So glad they call some of it “Street Art” now instead of the dismissive graffiti. It’s amazing what these artists can do with spray paint – the subtle colors and texturing. My favorite was the Belin portrait of his daughter.

    January 4, 2021 - 7:19 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad you liked it Memo, I wish I had the material to do more articles like these.

      January 4, 2021 - 7:22 pm Reply
  • Streets of Nuremberg

    Great street art collection, a joy to look at! Thanks for sharing!

    January 5, 2021 - 12:37 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers, thanks for reading!

      January 5, 2021 - 12:41 am Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    What a neat post! I am always amazed by the street art in NYC. The best I can draw is a stick figure 🙂

    January 5, 2021 - 1:15 am Reply
    • Leighton

      I would love to come and do a post on the street art of NYC! Especially as Sladja has never been. I am CRAP at art!

      January 5, 2021 - 8:41 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    Wow, Malaga’s street-art really are mesmerizing; I haven’t seen many street-arts in other parts of Europe which are as colorful and extensive as those in the coastal Spanish city! It’s really cool you got to witness not only the painting of El Chamorro, but also El Chamorro himself. There’s history in each artwork, each stroke, which illustrate a piece of the city’s history and Andalusian culture, which makes the tour of Malaga’s street-art all the more fascinating and alluring.

    January 5, 2021 - 5:22 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad you liked it. I’d love to do many more of these but only have a few up my sleeve. Maybe I’ll turn this into a habit for future locations!

      January 5, 2021 - 8:43 am Reply
  • AndysWorldJourneys

    amazing! And of such high quality and so much in one town!

    January 8, 2021 - 11:16 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Agreed, and I feel it really flies under the radar as an art city. Thanks for reading, Andy.

      January 8, 2021 - 11:18 am Reply
  • chalkandcheesetravels

    Love all the street art its all so well done 👏 there are some talented people out there. I am learning lots about Malaga its great.
    Have you ever got to Melbourne the street art there us just incredible

    January 9, 2021 - 7:41 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks guys. Actually I’ve never been to Australia, hopefully one day I can make it. Good to know that Melbourne is a solid street art city.

      January 9, 2021 - 8:36 am Reply

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