The first murals by Okuda, near the bus station. / V. M.

Ronda joins the street art members' club

The town has plenty of historical monuments for visitors to admire, but now there is a route to see modern art on buildings and elsewhere

VANESSA MELGAR

In a town as traditional as Ronda, where different inhabitants throughout history have left their mark, street art is also finding a niche for itself. So much so, in fact, that it is considered a way to attract more tourists, through an urban art route which is being designed as an addition to the many existing attractions, such as the Puente Nuevo over the famous gorge, the bullring, the Old Town and the Moorish baths, to mention just a few. Those historical monuments are now rubbing shoulders with some very modern creations.

The street art route is called Rebranding Ronda and at present it consists of three completed murals on buildings and one on a sports track which is currently being painted.

The mayor, María de la Paz Fernández, and Tourism councillor Ángel Martínez are keen to expand the project, but have not given any details of future plans or works of art.

With this initiative, Ronda wants to join the members' club of towns, cities and villages which have already embraced street art as a way of beautifying walls, fronts of buildings etc.

The new route begins in La Dehesa district on the edge of the town, which is reached from the Seville road. Here, it would be hard to miss the mural painted by local artist Víctor Fernández, an industrial engineer by profession who specialises in industrial design.

The Unicaja Foundation gave permission for Fernández to paint this work on their building, and the mural shows everything that Ronda has to offer its visitors, from the bullring to local gastronomy, wines, the gorge and the bridge that crosses it, the eight-spout fountain in the Padre Jesús district, the old city walls and the hot air balloon flights that offer spectacular views of the town.

The next stop along the route is in the centre of town, at the bus station, where the famous Okuda San Miguel, who has created hundreds of works of this type in different countries, has painted two murals on adjoining buildings.

They are visible from different places in Ronda and are striking because of the artist's individual style, which is marked by the use of strong colours and geometric designs.

On this occasion Okuda has paid tribute to flamenco, which Ronda is also famous for, and has sent a message in support of diversity, showing two people who do not normally feature in this type of art, one transexual and the other whose skin is not white.

The third work along the route is in Calle Granada off the Avenida de Malaga. This is another mural by Okuda San Miguel, and this time he has painted his own vision of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa which, typically, is also very colourful and geometric.

The next stop on the Rebranding Ronda route, and a work which will be completed before long, is in the San Rafael district and is the work of Malaga artist Víctor García.

This one will be a horizontal work, not vertical, because he is painting it on the sports track in the Parque de San Rafael.

His design is still a secret, but it will be a reminder of the ceramic tiles which are a feature of Ronda's Moorish past, and will also be full of colour.

García is also carrying out another project in Ronda, which is called Play in Colours. He is 'colouring-in' sports tracks in different parts of the town, an initiative which has been inspired by a visit to California.

Elsewhere in the area

Some of the villages in the Serranía de Ronda have also shown that they don't want to be left behind in this enthusiasm for street art. Works of this type can be found in Cartajima, Cortes de la Frontera, Montecorto and also in Cuevas del Becerro, so the Rebranding Ronda route can be extended to see the murals in those places as well.