When I was in Europe, I never made it to Madrid. Barcelona blew my mind with its beaches, paella, and street art. However, I'd love to take a trip to the Spanish capital. Daniel sent me a note about what Ana Botella Crew are working on; I'm quite intrigued. He writes:“Ana Botella is the wife of the former Spanish President José María Aznar, the one who started the Iraq War alongside Bush and Blair. Currently, she is also in charge of the department of the environment in the City of Madrid. It´s quite ridiculous because her husband is one of the most prominent Spanish neocons arguing publicly that the weather change and the environmental crisis are not real. He has been organizing master lectures at universities talking about the weather change conspiracy and adding that it’s all a fake created by new communism! Ana Botella follows this trend, and at the local level has carried the disdain for environmental practices to her own department at City Hall. She’s expanded this repressive policies to include social and cultural practices.”
"She is also a member of the right religious organization called OPUS DEI (The right of the right in the Holy Fucking Catholic Church) And lastly, she said that GRAFFITI is not an ART, and that Madrid spends 6 millions per year erasing graffiti, demagogically concluding, ‘With this money, we could have built 6 hospitals.’” “’I´ll destroy GRAFFITI’", she added.'”
“For all these reasons, and as a reaction to the stupid letter that she sent to every Madrilian with her signature arguing, among her measures for ‘integral cleaning of the city,’ that all graffiti was going to be removed, we had the idea of doing this open action using her own medicine! In fact, with so many politicians proposing recently to use municipal money to hire forensic graphologist to identify taggers and other street artists, we thought it would be a nice touch to use her own signature in this project. That action became really popular in Spain and also in other countries. For instance The Independent of London talks about us.”
“Welcome to this International Stencil Conspiracy! In essence, we are an open, global, and street-art action that criticizes and mocks a prominent politician who prosecutes graffiti. She also holds other backward opinions and policy proposals (from anti-gay rights, to reverse sustainability and social exclusion, you name it...) In response, the open group encourages artists and sympathizers to stencil the globe with her own signature.”
“While it has a strong tongue in cheek component, I believe it also encourages the discussion of public space usage, the right to the city, and the role that art and open participation has to do as an active agent of change. The project has picked up quite a bit of traction, with interventions in Madrid. Several other Spanish cities, such as Cadiz or Cuenca, have picked up on our mission. We also reach out to places like Washington DC and are planning interventions across Latin America.”
Gracias, Daniel! Who knew Ana traveled so much? Seems like she's everywhere. Thanks for checking in and sharing this story. Keep me posted! For more Ana Botella photos, check their Flickr page.