Weekend: Farewell celebration by the Escola Massana, local festivals and paintings about women

As July rolls on, the hot weather, the holiday atmosphere and eagerness to celebrate and spend time in the streets is ever more apparent in the city. The Escola Massana art and design centre is moving premises and vacating the old Hospital de la Santa Creu building. To mark the occasion, an original and creative all-day celebration is planned for Friday. The neighbourhoods of El Raval and Poble-sec are both holding their local festivals, filling the streets with popular culture. Elsewhere, the Virreina Image Centre is offering an exhibition by the Portuguese artists Paula Rego entitled ‘Family Sayings’, exploring feminism as an act of disobedience.

After more than 80 years there, the Escola Massana is vacating the old Hospital de la Santa Creu, bidding the building farewell with an all-day party on Friday. Celebrations get under way at 10 am in the Jardins de Rubió i Lluch, where visitors will be able help build a bread oven made from clay.

Activities are being organised throughout the day, inside and outside the Escola Massana, such as visits to classrooms, a drawing class and a chance to listen to noises recorded in all corners of the education centre. There’s also a communal lunch, with live music and dance in the evening and into the early hours.

Local festivals in El Raval and Poble-sec

The celebration at the Escola Massana coincides with the Festa Major del Raval, organised by the Associació de Veïns del Carme and including plenty of activities: music and dance, havanera singing, children’s activities, communal meals, theatre, giants, devils, human towers, sports competitions and a skating race which has become really popular in the last few years. A fair by local artisans and shopkeepers has also been held since 1983.

The fun begins with a procession and a performance by choral societies from El Raval, a dance and a giants’ parade with big heads and the Bouets and Vaqueta del Raval figures, who will all be in action prior to the opening speech by Faouzia Chati Badou, chair of the Association of Moroccan Women in Catalonia. Festivities conclude on Sunday.

The Festa Major del Poble-sec, from 14 to 23 July, is organised by the Coordinadora d’Entitats del Poble-sec and takes place at various iconic locations in the neighbourhoods such as Pl. Sortidor, the Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies, and the square in front of the Teatre el Molino. Dance, and particularly music, play a big part in the programme, although popular culture is also present, with giants’ gatherings, human towers and fire runs.

Exhibition of paintings about feminism

The Virreina Image Centre is offering the exhibition ‘Family Sayings’ by Paula Rego, which looks at one of the fundamental themes in the work of the Lisbon artist: feminism understood as an act of revolt whereby the power and imagination of women needs to be stood up for, given the dominance of patriarchal control structures.

In her paintings, which use the expressionism of the early 20th century and the dark terror of Goya as a starting point, Paula Rego represents women in unique moments which break accepted conventions and explore new spaces of freedom: in the process of change or about to change the way they engage with power.