Anything But Paella

Urban Art in Rojales

Regular visitors to Rojales are no doubt already aware that the town has a thriving art scene. The Cuevas del Rodeo have certainly gone from strength to strength in the six years since our blog was posted. Now though, you don’t have to climb the hill to get your fill of art as there are a handful of new murals within a short stroll of the old stone Carlos III bridge which crosses the river in the centre of town, all thanks to a project called Rojales en Pintura which saw the transformation of some empty walls during the latter part of 2020.

From the bridge walk alongside the River Segura to the next, more modern Reina Sofia bridge. On the south side of the river you can’t fail to notice the huge “Rojales en Pintura” sign in front of a series of huge paintings depicting the local agricultural scene. The larger than life artichokes are quite impressive!

On the opposite bank of the river a large mural shows some of the manufacturing history of the town with carpenters at work. Don’t forget to peek around the corner where two enormous finches are waiting for you.

Diagonally across from here is a mural added for International Women’s Day on 8 March 2021. This depicts the strength, freedom and courage of women. The small caption reads “Mujer libre, te quiero, armada de bravura y alegria, pero no la mía. Mujer de futura confia, valiente poesia pero no la mía.” Translating poetry is never straight forward but it is more or less this: “Free woman, I love you, armed with bravery and joy, but not mine. Confident future woman, brave poetry, but not mine.”

Back at the Carlos III bridge look up on the south side and you’ll see what looks like a series of giant posters attached to the wall. This intriguing series of pictures came from students at the nearby La Encantá school and is based on work by the Italian street artist Millo.

Literally round the corner from this mural is a homage to the poet Miguel Hernandez. His iconic face and, of course, the ubiquitous onions, make for a curious addition to the local street art scene. If this glimpse of MH-inspired artwork catches your imagination, you should head to the San Isidro barrio of Orihuela to see many, many more murals.

A few steps away from the Carlos III bridge, still on the south side, is Calle La Paz (look for Telfy on the corner). Just along the street a mural pays homage to local teacher Gratiniano Baches who was instrumental in the success of the Rojales Public School during the first two decades of the 20th Century. He was also a passionate archaeologist and an important figure in understanding the Roman remains found around the town at the time.

The child is the swollen bud where the seeds of
a flower that will fruit are sleeping.

“El niño, el Maestro y la Escuaela” Gratiniano Baches, 1922

There are some other examples of urban art around town too. On the square by the church is a powerful mural against domestic violence. Just down the alleyway by the river is another strong message saying that no child should be a victim of this either.

Of course, as you walk around, you’ll also see the occasional example of more traditional graffiti. Some of it is really quite good, but perhaps not to everyone’s taste or sensibility!!

Where the Miguel Hernandez mural is, there used to be an interesting piece depicting local life. It’s a shame this one couldn’t have somehow been retained too.

If you haven’t yet had enough art for the day, you could also pop into La Garbera and admire the eclectic decor as you sip a coffee, or call in to Triple Brew for a different kind of art – artisan beers!!

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