Keit Haring was a famous American artist and activist who was known in the 80's New York street's culture. Haring had a publicity background and very visual style, his art was very controversial and political.
Haring was very used to work on his art very quickly, he was famous for his work on the subway which meant that the had to create quickly in a few hours to not get caught. "The radiant baby" was on of the most famous art pieces of him. He created more than 50 public art pieces between 1982 and 1989 in different cities around the world.
Keith Haring in Barcelona
In a tour around Spain on 1989 to attend to the Arco fair in Madrid, he came to Barcelona. In Barcelona he met Montse Guillén the owner of the restaurant The International, a place he used to go in NYC. Montse suggested that he should paint something in Barcelona related to aids and he accepted.
Why about aids? Keith Haring in 1986 had his first Pop Shop in NYC at Soho. His art was controversial, with a social message and he critized the injustice, unfairness and he also warned about aids, homofobia and drugs.
On 1988, a year before he came to Barcelona he found out in a trip to Japan that he had some strange spots in his skin, When he came back home he found out that he had aids. Since he knew about his illness his art pieces were more and more on social awareness and related to aids in one or another way.
In Barcelona, he decided to do a graffiti on aids in the Raval area for free. He chose a wall in Salvador seguí square, where there used to be a very long crooked wall. The choice of Raval area was not random, at that time the area was known to be one of the poorest in town, where sexual illness were increasing, drugs etc...
El Raval, also known as the Chinese neighbourhood was full of drugs and the lowest part of society as well as prostitution. The police established permanent points to have patrols in the area.
Haring did what he was best at: doing graffitis in public places. As there was no time to ask for permission they went around different areas in Barcelona and he decided to paint it in the Raval area.
The mural chosen was 30m long and it took him 5 hours to paint all the wall with red paint and having aids symbols all along: a big red snake that choked a syringe and in the other part some people that tried to scape from his bite. There was a message written: "All together we can stop aids".
In 1989 Haring created his own foundation under his name to fight aids. A year later he died due to this illness, he was 31 years old. After he created the Raval graffiti, it was damaged due to other graffitis being on top of it.
In 1992 the mayor decided to take color samples of the graffiti and was reproduced twice near the MACBA museum location: on 1996 and 1998. 16 years later on 2014 the last reproduction of the art piece it is now in larg wall of 34 metres right behind the MACBA museum.
Haring clear message on aids it is visible and has reborn after all this time: Ignorance= Fear Silence= Death