Power of Paint: Political Street Art Confronts the Authorities

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientific

3 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of Spain's economical crisis, waves of protests have transformed the streets of Spanish cities into sites of place-specific spatial activism. City space has been shaped through protest, marches, squatting and street art. During Spain's austerity years, street art has become an important part of political participation. Based on artists' interviews and on my visual ethnographic research in the Spanish cities of Madrid (2013–2016) and Valencia (2016), this paper seeks to illuminate how political street art forms a part of social expression toward the authorities. Street art is a media through which artists can question decision-makers and challenge policies made by statesmen. The examples of political street art highlight how creative contestations become barometers of dissatisfaction and how street art confronts institutional power. Ultimately, political street art is argued in Spicca's and Perdue's (2014) term as ‘spatial citizenship’ producing more polyphonic space.

Keywords: political street art, protest, political participation, visual ethnography, Spain

Original languageEnglish
Pages 20–29
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2017
MoEC publication typeNot Eligible
EventThe Lisbon Street Art & Urban Creativity International Conference 2017 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 6 Jul 20178 Jul 2017


ConferenceThe Lisbon Street Art & Urban Creativity International Conference 2017


  • street art
  • political street art
  • street art research
  • crisis
  • Spain

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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