If you’re headed for Seville and you want to seek out the city’s art scene, head for the gallery-shop-cafes of the Alameda, Soho Benita and Calle Regina
Seville, world-famous for rich Mudejar, Gothic and Baroque architecture, is not a city known for its cutting-edge art scene, in the same way as Bilbao with the Guggenheim Museum and Malaga with its new Pompidou Centre, Soho graffiti and Contemporary Art Centre.
However if you delve into narrow, ancient streets of this southern Spanish city, off the beaten tourist track, you will find some hip multipurpose spaces that house local artistic talent and also offer an offbeat selection of artisan delights by Spanish designers, as well as international labels.
Close to Plaza Nueva, the Andalucian capital’s central square, is Wabisabi – the name means “beauty of imperfection” in Japanese. This long, narrow space, curated by Maria Lopez Vergara, shows a new artist every two months, mostly from Seville, such as Sergio Cruz, whose garden-themed works in acrylic and ceramic are bang up-to-date. Other works by local artists are also displayed in the shop. Ever seen a wooden handbag? Neither had we. Jesus Pizones makes sensuous, curved bags of walnut and boxwood from sustainable forests. Perfect to accessorise the chic shell dresses by Spanish label AmarilloLimon (all the store’s clothes are made in Spain).
In the clutch of fashion and design micro-emporia of Soho Benita, one of the areas regenerated by the arrival of Metropol Parasol, the largest wooden structure in the world, you’ll find Delimbo. Housed in an industrial space, this was the first gallery in southern Europe specialising in urban art when it opened in 2006. Laura Calvaro and her partner Seleka favour vanguard, sometimes controversial works. With four or five exhibitions a year, its recent shows have included artists with international profiles such as Olek, Okuda and Felipe Pantone. The front part has fun fashion and accessories labels like London favourite Lazy Oaf and animal rings by Thai-based duo Good After Nine.
Red House Art and Food
One of Seville’s most well-known and influential art characters – also a restaurateur and entrepreneur – is Cristina Galeote, who founded Red House Art and Food, a cultural space in the trendy Alameda district with tables made from upcycled warehouse doors, vintage 1940s furniture, plus live music, performances and DJ sets every weekend, and a revolving selection of art. She encourages up-and-coming talent, displaying works on the walls by Seville-based artists.
Un Gato en Bicicleta
One Sevillano artist who raises eyebrows can be seen in bookstore-cum-creative space Un Gato en Bicicleta, in Calle Regina, the heart of hip Seville. Agustin Israel Barrera (whose brother Jesus owns the store) paints canvases offering an alternative view of the revered and sombre Holy Week celebrations (Semana Santa) – hooded nazarenos in bright colours with incongruous high heels and flamenco dresses, or taking selfies.
Text by seville_writer