I’m embarrassed to admit this but before I came to Spain, I didn’t know that Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, the second biggest city in Andalusia. However, as soon as I discovered this fact, I knew I had to visit Malaga and the Picasso Museum there. A few weeks ago, I finally got the chance when two of my friends and I decided to spend the weekend in Malaga, which is a short hour and a half bus ride from Granada.
The first thing I noticed as I walked away from the bus station and towards city center was the graffiti. When I reached the the river, I looked across and saw that it was flanked on both sides by walls filled with the most beautiful street art I have ever seen. One of my favorites was a series of letters, each letter painted on a block of concert in bright colors. Reflected beneath the vibrant letters was a copy of each, this time in shades of black and white. As I continued towards the ocean, I passed the Museum of Contemporary Art above which were two more pieces of artwork, reaching up the sides of the buildings.
When I first saw these pieces of art, I assumed they had been created due to their location, close to the Museum of Contemporary Art. But as I spent the next few days wandering around Malaga, visiting sights and museums, I realized this wasn’t the case. The best thing about Malaga is the atmosphere and I believe Picasso, who actually only lived in Spain until he was twenty years old, is to thank for this. Malaga is a city of creation, of inspiration, of art and this is evident in every aspect of the city, from the cute restaurants decorated with living room furniture and pink stairs to the graffiti painted across back street walls to the rich colors of the houses. In front of the Alcazaba, Malaga’s ancient Moorish fortress, artists of all ages perch their easels and paint. They do the same in the square outside of Picasso’s childhood home, stroking their brushes over their canvas, turning a void into life. Pigeons flutter around their feet but the artists pay no mind, deep in concentration, all their effort focused on capturing the moment in front of them before it disappears. Picasso’s childhood home has been turned into an art piece too, a rainbow of folded paper scaling the wall and spreading across to the apartment buildings next door.
As I walked through the winding streets I began to wonder though: did Picasso inspire this face of Malaga or did the beauty of Malaga inspire Picasso first? Either way, one can not deny the allure of this shared spirit of creation. I’m glad I got to spend a weekend with Picasso, soaking it all in.