We've spent the last couple of days in the outskirts of Valencia, Spain, following the realization of Sensemurs, the first meeting of muralists coordinated by the Horta és Futur NO a la ZAL organization. Organized with big help from Escif (who also happens to be featured in the Juxtapoz Spring 2018 issue), the project is part of the recovery campaign of the neighborhood of La Punta, whose natural and living environment has been severally damaged by the unstoppable suburban growth of the port.

In times when mural and street art festivals are being organized and advertised almost as if they were entertainment events, it is refreshing to see projects like these happening solely for the sake of helping a valuable cause. The area of La Punta, or La Huerta (Orchard), has been the victim of repeated abuses by the administrations of the port authority and the local government since 2001. Between the 2001 and 2003, the project Zone of Logistic Activities (ZAL in Spanish), has resulted in the relocation of local people and dropping the population from 3000 to under 2500 inhabitants. Forced to buy and move into newly built social housing, just 100's of meters from their old homes and gardens, a lot of people decided to start or continue their life elsewhere. When higher court verdicts came that the entire undertaking was illegal, the project was put on hold which resulted in social and economical hibernation in the area. Recently, the procedures to reactivate the ZAL have started again, with different environmental and social NGOs joining forces to preserve the culture, identity and natural value of the area.

In order to raise the awareness of their efforts, the organizers reached out to local artist, Escif, who invited an impressive lineup of muralists to create work in the area. The lineup includes some of the biggest and most respected names in the movement, such as Aryz, BLU, Borondo, Escif, Anaïs Florin, Hyuro, Luzinterruptus, Daniel Muñoz "SAN", Sam3 and Elías Taño. The artists found inspiration for in the struggle of the local people and injustice that's been brought upon them over the years, which is noticeable in each mural.

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Aryz portrayed the church built with money of the local population (which is nowadays hard to access due to the railway that was built between the houses and its location). Hay Lechugas (We Have Lettuce) by Escif (above) is a glorified version of common signs seen on the side of the road though Spain. Visible from the highway entering Valencia, the piece is pointing out the scale of the issue of disappearing orchards. Hyuro painted a large image of a young vandal armed with tomatoes, while Elías Taño composed a tribute to the fight of the people against the politicians and the port authority, backed by the police. The entire event carried a strong feeling of  comradery and support between the artists, as well as immeasurable appreciation of the local people for their efforts.

We will be publishing a second report with works by remaining artists in the next couple of days. —Sasha Bogojev

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Photo credits by @sashabogojev