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Las Meninas de Canido is responsible for the resurgence of an entire district of Ferrol. We have already come across several examples in the world where urban art is responsible for the rebirth of places depressed by various circumstances, but what happened in this Galician city has transcended borders. The Meninas have attracted people from all over the world to contemplate with their own eyes this beautiful story in which Velázquez’s most famous characters have had the same effect as the ashes of a phoenix.
This is a project that began in 2008 the artist from Ferrol Eduardo Hermida and has managed to talent-based reverse the process of depopulation and deterioration of the neighborhood of Canido, severely affected by the industrial crisis of the city. The two times we have travelled to Ferrol we have visited their famous Meninas, the last of them with the children. Join us on this family tour of one of Galicia’s greatest artistic claims.
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Visit to the Meninas de Canido, a must-see in Ferrol
For more than a decade different artists have been concentrating the first weekend of September to make their particular version of Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez on the free walls of the neighborhood. At present there are more than 300 meninas painted by all Canido, being one of the major incentives to travel to this Galician city. We are going to discover the Meninas de Canido in Ferrol as a family.
Las Meninas de Canido, the street art that changed a neighborhood
All you have to do is take a stroll through the different districts of Ferrol to realise the city’s impressive urban and historical heritage. In the heat of the naval industry and its powerful shipyards, the city flourished remarkably until it became one of the most prosperous in Galicia and northern Spain. However, the gradual fall in demand for shipbuilding was accompanied by a loss of population and deterioration of many areas including the central district of Canido.
Fortunately, this situation began to revert thanks to a small artistic initiative that took place in 2008. The painter from Ferrol Eduardo Hermida (who also lives in the neighbourhood) encouraged other artists to create on the walls of Canido a series of murals inspired by the painting by Las Meninas. That seed soon bore fruit, as the initiative was so popular that since then, on the first weekend of September, a festival dedicated to the Meninas has been held in which creators from all over the world dare to reinterpret Velázquez’s universal work and fill the Canido neighbourhood with colour and joy. Artists, musicians, writers, sculptors or photographers meet every year to leave their mark on the neighborhood.
We have had the good fortune to meet Eduardo Hermida and see first hand the passion and humility with which he has approached this phenomenon. What began as an act of cultural and vindictive dyes has completely transformed the neighborhood. The festival has grown in such a way that there is almost no free wall to paint more Meninas. Now the neighborhood is in very good health and in addition to the murals, there are many references to its most famous neighbors. Names of bars, restaurants, shops, products… Canido breathes Meninas on all four sides.
Logically all the Meninas are exposed to the open air, so it is very pleasant to take a walk through the streets of Canido to discover the almost 300 works that exist. Some are very obvious and others are more hidden (and tiny), so you can motivate children to play to find them. Being street art, many have been lost over the years, but new ones are always emerging to fill the gap they leave.
The Ferrol Tourist Office offers a guided tour to get to know the ins and outs of the most emblematic, although if you have the chance to meet Eduardo Hermida (and he accompanies you for a while) the experience is much more rewarding. The truth is that the Canido neighbourhood is now a very colourful area with a lot of street atmosphere. It’s nice to walk around and see that the shops and bars are full of people… it doesn’t look at all like that depressed area before the arrival of the Meninas.
What to do in Ferrol with children?
If Ferrol is already a fun destination to travel with children, the experience became even more entertaining when visiting it with our friends from TusDestinos.net. We had a scary time discovering the city and its surroundings as we helped Maria Jesus and her family record this fun video with everything you can do in Ferrol with children. What are you waiting for to give the play?
Was Banksy here or are you the parents?
Curiously enough, Canido’s most famous mural makes no reference to Velázquez’s Las Meninas. This is a work in which two Civil Guard agents give each other a passionate kiss and is attributed to the famous and mysterious street artist Banksy. This curious painting was conceived during the preview of one of the festivals. A popular beer brand challenged the street art guru with a blank wall reading “Reserved for Banksy”. Logically, nothing happened during the days of maximum boiling, but weeks later the aforementioned creation of the civil guards appeared.
Suddenly, televisions and media from all over the world traveled to Canido to echo the news. The neighborhood was on everyone’s lips but Banksy has never confirmed or denied that the painting is his. Despite this, it continues to attract many curious people who want to see it in situ. Just between the Guardia Civil agents and the beer brand sign someone has written “Banksy doesn’t exist, it’s the parents”. Is this your work or not? Sooner or later we’ll know.
Discovering the Meninas de Canido with the ARFerrol virtual reality app
Curiously enough, before visiting the Meninas de Canido in Ferrol, we had been months before in El Museo del Prado in Madrid, where Teo and Oriol had seen Velázquez’s famous work for the first time. Although they had this reference to the little ones, they loved strolling through the streets and squares of the district of Ferrol trying to discover the murals (both the most obvious and those that were not visible to everyone).
The walk through the neighborhood and its colorful walls was enough incentive for the little ones to be connected. However, the children were completely hooked on the visit thanks to the ARFerrol virtual reality app. With great care we left them our mobile phones so that they could “point” to the works and discover with astonishing faces that some of the Meninas came to life right under their noses. It’s amazing to see how gambling a visit increases your interest exponentially. We enchanted, of course.
Did you like discovering the Meninas de Canido in Ferrol with your family? Did you know the history of this landmark in street art? Tell us in the comments we would love to hear from you.
For more information you can visit the Ferrol Tourism website and the Meninas de Canido website.