Friday, March 13, 2009

Cow Parade in Madrid

The concept isn't original to Madrid. The Cow Parade public art exhibition in Chicago in 1999 featured 300 fiberglass cow figures painted or decorated by prominent artists, then displayed in strategic locations all over the city. The project had started in Zurich a year earlier, but was soon picked up by other world cities, including London, Milan, Monaco, Moscow, New York, Paris, Sao Paolo and Tokyo.

Here in Manila, the Inquirer adopted the same tack, though on a smaller scale, when it commissioned 20 leading Filipino artists to dress up life-size figures of Guyito, the paper's carabao mascot, on the occasion of its 20th anniversary in 2005.

These days, to visit Madrid is to see 105 gaily decorated vacas everywhere, from the airport grounds to the city's vast squares, palace courtyards, parks and boulevards, along street corners and mall entrances. The cheeky, often-whimsical art painted on them bears such names as “Cowrnival,” “Midnight Runner,” “Milk on the Rocks,” “Titanic Cow,” “Vaca World Champion,” “Vaca Sandwich,” “Vaca Muuusical.”

There's even a cow called “Manila,” by the artist Segundo Leria Garcia, located at S5 Calle Velasquez/Don Ramon de la Cruz. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to swing by the place and check it out.

A girl poses for a photo beside one of the cows installed in Plaza de Oriente, the courtyard located at the eastern side of the Royal Palace, seen in the background. [Click on photo to enlarge.]

This cow, at Plaza de Santa Ana, is by the artist Santiago Jaen. I can identify it from the accompanying Spanish-language brochure because it's the only cow sculpture found in this park, which is ringed by some of the city's trendiest and most expensive tapas bars. Note the building in the background--the historic Teatro Español, with a banner announcing a Hamlet to be played by a female actor.

The enthusiasm of the girl can only be explained by one thing: She's a shopaholic, and the bold red cow (by Jose Luis de No and Cesar Gomez) is her badge of affirmation. “Las Revacas” is a play on the word “Rebajas”--Spanish for “Sale.” It's sale season in Madrid now, and--naturalmente--this cow, located at C5 Calle Preciados/Puerta del Sol, stands by the entrance to a huge outlet of Spain's largest chain of shopping malls, El Corte Ingles (literally, “English Style”). Ole!


Gram Math said...

holy cow !
heheheheh, do you think they have like this in other countries like india for example?

FrRoy said...

These beautifully painted cows are also all over the city of Prague, Czech Republic. Along with its rich musical culture, these cows blend with its characteristical art nouveau. 'Check' it out. [Pun intended.]

beektur said...

Ano nangyari sa mga kalabaw ng PDI? Asan ang kuwento tungkol doon?

gibbs cadiz said...

GRAM MATH, in india i think they have LIVE cow parades everyday. :)

nice idea, FR. ROY, right? public art is edifying and raises civic pride. :)

BEEKTUR, maganda ang kinalabasan ng project. the 20 guyitos were sent to 20 representative schools in the different regions and installed in their libraries to serve as a sort of mascot/emblem for the school's kiddie reading programs. the overall theme for the artworks on the guyitos was really the encouragement of literacy among the kids. :)

Tsinitoboy said...

In Dubai, they have horses & camels instead of painted cow statues. Heck, they even have a camel in "Emirates Airlines" motif, complete with cap & make-up.

mhycke said...

Hey, I live in 73 Ramon de la Cruz. I take a picture of vaca "Manila" for you.

gibbs cadiz said...

sure, MHYCKE! send me the pic and i'll post it here. thanks! :)

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