Monday, April 23, 2012

Las fallas 2012 - the sculptures

The first item on my list of things I saw at Las Fallas, the festival in Valencia, was "las fallas" -- the sculptures featured in the event.

To summarize what I've already written about las fallas: They're expensive.  There's one in each neighborhood in Valencia.  The people work all year fundraising money, while the artist works on the falla.  There are two sizes: fallas infantiles (smaller fallas for kids) and fallas majores (main falla - the big ones).  Most have a theme, many criticize an aspect of society, and all are burned on the last day of the festival.

But there is much more to be said.

An example of a falla infantil, to get an idea of the size.

La Plantà

The "plantà" is the installation and construction of the fallas in the plazas and streets where they'll be on display during the festival.  Since they're made of styrofoam and wood, one must be careful while transporting and constructing the falla.  By March 15 all of the fallas infantiles need to be finished, and later that night all of the fallas majores must have finished being constructed.  If not, they may be disqualified.

When Gregorio and I arrived in Valencia on Thursday the 15, we saw a falla being installed.  There were some Genies to reach the top of the falla, paint spray guns for final touch ups, and scraps of wood.

Installing a falla in Valencia.  My eye went straight to the man scraping the sculpture's bum.

Spray paint touch-ups on March 15 of Las Fallas


The fallas majores featured large characters/figures relating to some theme, and then had many smaller figures/scenes on the ground surrounding the falla.  These smaller displays would have signs that either helped explain the concept or added satire/humor to the display.  The annoying part was that all of these signs were written in Valencian.  There weren't even Spanish translations  next to the signs, so I feel like I didn't get nearly half as much out of the displays as I should have.  With all of the tourists (including Spaniards) that come to Valencia for Las Fallas, I'm surprised the falla-makers still only write their signs in Valencian.

For example, here's a falla about Africa:
Falla major
And here are some close-ups of the smaller statues/displays at ground-level of the falla:

You can definitely get an idea for what the artist is going for, but being able to read the signs would have been helpful.

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