A digestive house for Lavapiés

Josep-María Martín

Manifesto from Mouhamadou Bamba Diop and his partners from the 'piso patera' in Lavapiés

Josep-Maria Martín's artistic projects are focused on creating new intervention strategies that affect established structures of our current society, some of which have fissures. The artist questions and critiques the reality he decides to work on. His work explores concepts such as progress, investigation, participation, involvement, negotiation and proposition. In this process, agents that have been identified for each intervention become the true creators of a common project.

Foto: Enrique Pacheco
Foto: Enrique Pacheco

Josep-Maria is interested in forms of art that exceed the purely aesthetic, encouraging a movement from aesthetics towards ethics, life transformed by art and the art of living by transformation. His aim is to use aesthetics in order to visualize situations and try to change them.

These are multidisciplinary projects that are open for appropriation by the different participants involved. For example, that which is a piece of contemporary art for an artist, is, in the mind of a social worker, a community project, etc. As such, the artistic object transforms into a multifunctional object.

'Piso patera': overcrowded apartment for immigrants.
For this edition of MADRID ABIERTO the artist was interested in questioning a ‘piso patera' as a space for people to live in and to establish an analogy between the human digestive system and the home as an organism that digests collective and personal memories.

After months of investigation and interviews Josep-Maria located Mouhamadou Bamba Diop, a Senegalese citizen who lives in an apartment in the neighborhood of Lavapiés, along with 16 fellow countrymen, all without legal documents. The artist asked them to reflect on their way of living in an overcrowded apartment (‘piso patera') and, Bamba in particular, to tell the story of his life in Senegal, his journey to Spain on a small boat and the dream that all of them share of returning to their country in order to create a better future for the youth of Kayar (Bamba's home town). The artist's original intention of working on the apartment for immigrants materialized itself instead by offering a contract to Bamba in order for him to be part of the project and thus temporarily legalize his status in the country. MADRID ABIERTO 2010 will be the first phase of this proposal. In January Josep-Maria and Bamba traveled to Senegal to develop a socio-economic project in Kayar.

Foto: Enrique Pacheco

Foto: Enrique Pacheco

Europe. What is that?
To be born. Where? There. Why? I don't know. To grow. To think. To look. To listen. To study. You can't. I can't anymore. To work. I want more. To hear. To see. Europe. So, what is that? I don't know. It sounds good. Him, he left. He also. Did he arrive? I don't know. To work. I want more. Love. I'm getting married. Me too. My son. I'm getting married, again. Another child. To work. Europe. So, what is that? I don't know. He left. Now they have a better life. And he? I don't know. To work. For what? Not much, I want more. Europe. So, what is that? It seems good. Is it? I don't know. He left. Did he do well? Maybe. I love you. I also love you. My cousin left. Where? To Spain. What is that? Did he do well? Sure. What do you have to do? Work. For what? I want more. He called. Is he ok? Yes, he called. Now they have a better life. I'm leaving. Where are you going? To a better world. Better? Yes, better. Are you sure? He left. Did he do well? Now they have a better life. And him? I don't know.

Before the journey, those living in the apartment in Lavapiés stated:

From our ‘piso patera'
We are a group of Senegalese immigrants that arrived in Spain on a boat, hoping that in Europe we would be able to thrive as human beings, helping our families and Community. We arrived in Madrid after a suicidal journey. Today we are 17 persons living in a small apartment in Lavapiés. We demand to be, to have, to live, to subsist, to be supported, to feel, to belong... in freedom.

Foto: Enrique Pacheco

Foto: Enrique Pacheco

Being and to be recognized as cultured people, educated in a profound respect towards others. To be considered as citizens in full possession of rights, here, there and anywhere. To be and being recognized as spiritual people that believe in God and his prophet, with complete respect to other beliefs and to those who don't believe.

To have a decent home, thanks to our work and effort, to be able to create a family and to be capable of delivering a legacy of material goods to our descendants, in order for them to thrive.

To perform a decent activity that enables us to feel fulfilled and complete. To work among social values that we assume and respect, while obeying the law. Letting ourselves be heard, to be taken into account when formulating the law and rising our voices in order to change those rules that seem to makes us invisible to the rest of society.

Being and acquiring a role in society, assuming those values that are important and necessary for our coexistence, while retaining our cultural identity and encouraging those who live among us to know and understand our customs and culture, and absorbing from them what they believe is valuable.

Subsisting as Senegalese people in a world of white men, keeping our faith and hope, knowing that our hearts remain in our homeland with our families, just as anyone who has left his country and beloved ones in order to seek a better opportunity.

To be supported and protected in our right for a better future without endangering our lives. To be protected from opportunists, mafias, and big shots that are not doing what is needed in order to prevent the death of people who are looking for a better life.

To feel loved and respected. To feel visible and heard. To feel other people's feelings as our own and to feel taken into account. To feel our interests and words are being heard. Feeling the cold, warmth, love, anger, outrage, admiration...

Belonging and identifying ourselves as Senegalese inside and outside our homeland. This means being supportive by nature and due to religious conviction; to protect the weak one, who doesn't have or doesn't want; being hospitable and building a community, living in peace among everyone that surrounds us; being, thanks to the strength that we achieve due to our mutual support and the respect towards our hierarchic structures which facilitate our coexistence; having the Koran as our main guide and holding on to our beliefs until our last breath.

...the freedom to leave and stay, to thrive, to create... Freedom.

Ababacar Gningue, Aliou Badara Diouf, Assane Kebe, Bassirou Thioune, Daouda Kebe, Djibril Diop, Djibril Ndiaye, Ibrahima Gueye, Ibrahima Toure Niang, Madeguene Gueye, Modou Diouf, Modou Sall Ndiaye, Mouhamadou Bamba Diop, Mouhamadou Lamine Diatta, Moury Conde.


days 6, 7, 20 and 21. Roof terrace at La Casa Encendida (Ronda de Valencia nº 2)

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