Open City

Hanan was kind enough to meet me for a late afternoon walk around the neighborhood. Sol is her favorite plaza, where spontaneous dance and music happens (I found out later she was a singer in a band!) and where she can get food that reminds her of home (apparently parsley is difficult to find here). She talked about how she first met people from Catalunya through the Palestine solidarity movement and how since moving to Barcelona she has met a more politically diverse representation. She told me about the presence of a strong Gypsy community here in Barcelona, something that surprised her. She made me this map:




Already a memory

I left Barcelona for a few days to meet up with my parents and on the plane ride I drew this map from memory. I found it interesting but not unlikely that I never committed much of the street names to memory, only some of the major ones and only because I had made previous maps of the area. It is humbling to me that I have barely scratched the surface of this neighborhood during my two weeks at Jiwar.



Les Corts etc. with Iker

I met Iker at an intercambio meetup on my first week and he was generous enough to spend a long Saturday morning with me. We met at 9am at les Corts and parted ways in the early afternoon. Much of the time was spent inside the Monestir de Pedrables where we both decided that we could not live the life of a nun or monk with their regular prayer schedules, their silence and isolation. Iker said he would be going crazy ringing the bells. We switched between English and Castellano and I found myself getting lost in a long description of the intricacies of Basque grammar. We headed down to the second hand book market in San Anton and stumbled upon a street market for trading cards. What an amazing scene of children with their parents with notebooks in hand, brokering deals!



I think nothing. Free.

Yesterday I went on a walk with Shinobu. He kept emphasizing that he had no plan for the walk. “I think nothing. Free” and we just kept walking. It began with a cerveza at Pl. del Diamant when I learned that he loved hospitals and thought the Barcelona clear blue sky was the same color of the autumn sky in Japan. We talked a little about cultural differences, education, people addicted to video games that sometimes result in hospitalization. We stopped at a pharmacy to purchase bandages, his art material. In the mercat we stopped so he could ride the “alien spaceship”. I documented his temporary in situ intervention with the bandage. We did not talk much but just meandered along , every once in a while stopping to observe closer. All in all, a lovely walk in the neighborhood.



Nuria’s maps

This morning Nuria made two maps in conversation with me. We started with Barcelona which turned into a map of her heart-of passions, heartbreaks, disappointments, and eventually happiness. In this map we can see her thoughts about love forming from the past. It is the road to romantic love with Barcelona as the stage.

The second map expresses her love for London and the freedom she feels when she visits and lives there for short periods of time. The problem of love continues to be central to this map as well. Nuria found herself in London, in this ideal dream city!





Plaza bench mate

I was sitting on a bench in Placa de la Vila, trying to figure out a delicate yet articulate way to ask someone to make a map with me when this gentleman sat down next to his mates (all regulars as I can tell) and proceeded to shoot the breeze about the World Cup. After a few minutes of eavesdropping I explained to him about my project and he was nice enough to indulge me and drew me a map.
In the middle of all this, a friend of Mireia (the founder o Jiwar) happened to sit on the other side of me on the bench with her baby! After drawing me the map, Miguel looked over my lonely planet guidebook and told me that he recognized the man in the photo of a cheese counter in the Boqueria market. Miguel was a cheese importer! He also used to go all around Barcelona with his daughters but now they are all busy. One works for an American company making prosthetics. His wife grew up on a little street near the Picasso museum. He told me that I can find him on the same bench on most days!





A walk with Raffaela and sometimes Stella

I met Raffaella at a figure drawing session last week where we had a brief chat while the model was on break. She quickly agreed to meet for the mapping project and we ended up spending the morning and afternoon walking around Gracia- talking about art, cities, mentalities, raku ceramics, health care, education, etc. etc. What a lovely day it was. I was even treated to a home cooked meal and a fun session of drawing Mr. Pringles with her daughter Stella, a budding artist! I found out that her late husband attended my alma mater in the 50s! What a small world!



Madrid with Alejandra

I spent a few whirlwind days at Alejandra’s flat in La Latina and took several walks with her during my stay. Experiencing a city with a local friend by your side is the most ideal. I made this map from memory on this rainy morning in Barcelona. Gracias por todo!



Sant Andreu with Fernando

I met Fernando at a Jiwar opening just after a few hours after my arrival in Barcelona two days ago. He told me he was a sculptor about to move to the Pyrenees. He also promised to show me around on Thursday so today I met him for a walk around Sant Andreu, a lovely hidden gem in Barcelona. I got to see his taller with the tools used in reproducing wood sculptures from plaster cast. He showed me his work and its many manifestations. We watched a hilarious Russian satirical musical when I learned that he used to live in St. Petersburg! We talked about politics, art, and education. All in all a great walk and a fun map to draw afterwards!