Catalan politics sparks interest in Valencian Falles exhibit
In this preview for the enormous statues to be set ablaze at the world-famous festival, satirical works on the independence roadmap made an appearance
Fireworks, flames, and things that go boom are a sure-fire addition to most Catalan celebrations. But Catalonia isn’t the only place where incandescence takes center stage in a festivity. And if you travel just south of Catalonia, to Valencia, you’ll know just what we mean.
On the four days leading up to March 19, neighborhood groups (called ‘comissió fallera’ in Catalan) each present a ‘falla,’ a colorful, fantastical, and sometimes comical effigy to be burned on the big night. Think parade-day floats but with a story-book aesthetic and painstaking detail.
But preparations start gearing up much before March. In fact, the ‘comissiós falleras’ already presented some of their propositions for the enormous, decorated kindling at the exhibition Ninot de les Falles de València 2018 – and for those following the Catalan independence roadmap, there are some familiar faces.
Indeed, there are even different chronological events integrated in the creative, satirical statues: The October 1 referendum, the Spanish government’s application of Article 155, Puigdemont’s stay in Belgium, even references to the famous ‘Piolín’ Tweety Bird cruise ship that housed the police responsible for the violent police crackdown.
For example, deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is depicted in one ‘falla’ holding both a Catalan independence ‘estelada’ and a Belgian flag, sitting on the Iron Throne from the ‘Game of Thrones’ television series. Another ‘falla’ has him immortalized as a statue on a ballot box in a Buddha-like lotus pose, with underneath him a sign reading ‘Carles Fuigdelmón,’ a play on words with his name referencing his flight to Belgium. Another still shows the exiled leader as the Catalan ‘William Wallace,’ the Scottish warrior from Braveheart.
One ‘falla’ shows Carles Puigdemont along with jailed Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras and Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy in a ‘Saint George and the Dragon’ scene, which is actually a commentary on Spain’s application of Article 155 (Puigdemont is the knight while Rajoy is portrayed as the scaly beast).
Even other Catalan leaders weren’t spared – Inés Arrimadas, head of Ciutadans in Catalonia, was shown dressed as Mata Hari, who is known for her betrayal of the Allies during World War I.