It is vital to preserve ancient buildings and monuments; they reflect history, and help to understand inhabitants who lived in different eras. For a recent restoration project in Tortosa, a small city in the south of Catalonia, the artist Roc Blackblock visited in July and December to create “At once I understand that man is memory,” that pays tribute to local composer and musician, Felip Pedrell.
Located in Plaça Sant Joan, Roc Blackblocks two-part work is inspired by a 1925 photograph, which demonstrates the celebration of a popular tradition in the city of Tortosa. It also pays homage to famous composer and musician Felip Pedrell, a native of the area.
The city is also known for historic architecture, although many buildings have been demolished and abandoned, including Pedrell’s house. Through the city council’s continuation of the dignification project, the artist captured the cultural attitude of the project, and coined its title, “At once I understand that man is memory,” by local writer Gerard Vergés (Tortosa 1931, Spain 2014).
The first phase of the project consisted of painting the wall of the adjoining building, keeping its classical perspective coherent in context and aesthetics. For the second part, the artist acknowledged the popular festival, the cast of “panoli”, a type of cake made with olive oil produced in the region and recreated a photo taken in the same place decades prior. Another interesting aspect of these two murals are that Blackblock gives value to the individual work of one person, and in the other the whole community. The historical legacy becomes a binomial of the great individual deeds and the conjunction of society.
About the Artist
Roc Blackblock is an illustrator and tattoo artist that’s also specialized in stencil graffiti. He’s an eclectic painter, muralist and designer that’s passionate about creating work from walls and canvas to paper, and on skin.
He’s best known for his attention to social issues. He uses art as a means of expression and activism in aid of social struggles, public memory and community.