It is generally thought that street art and classic culture are incompatible. There are, however, people who are always happy to laugh in the face of these and many other incompatibilities. Some of them live in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Recently they painted a huge portrait of Federico Garcia Lorca on a pharmacy’s wall, along with his poem Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne). The choice isn’t random – it isn’t very common knowledge, but there are a lot of things that tie Brooklyn and the famous Spanish poet together. He lived in New York in 1929-1930, and mentioned Brooklyn in his works much more than once. There is even an annual event dedicated to the poet, called Lorca’s Route in New York.
The news of the new mural appearing on a pharmacy wall was met with mixed feelings by Bushwick’s residents and passers-by. Some are confused by the text of the poem (even the creators of the mural, Jane Weissman and Camille Perrorret, admit that they themselves are not exactly sure what does it mean, the poem being highly symbolic and metaphorical), some are pleased, some wish there were some socially important message instead of it. But mostly they are ready to celebrate the fact that a world-famous poet stayed here and considered this place to be worthy of his talent.
Both the creators of the mural and other people who are simply fond of Lorca’s poetry agree that the writer’s sojourn in New York influenced his life and literary work to a great extent, however short time it may seem when compared with the rest of his life. He was there at a critical point of American history and saw it all: the Wall Street crash, the Great Depression, the way they influenced the everyday life of people, both rich and poor. It certainly left its trace in his heart. It changed Lorca, even to the extent of altering his style – he ceased using his accustomed Spanish verse and adopted some peculiar internal rhyme.
This mural is, in fact, the fourth one of the series, which Weissman and Perrorret have been working on for the last two years, so its appearance didn’t come exactly as very surprising news to the residents. The artists say that they are already pretty much used to witnessing the entire range of emotions and reactions expressed by people when they first see their work. It is hard to say right now whether the fourth mural will be their last work dedicated to the Spanish poet, but it certainly did what it was supposed to do – it stirred up the popular attention and interest towards this personality.