The Center del Carme museum (CCCC) in Valencia received this morning the first “pardoned graffiti” in Spain, a portrait of David Bowie made by the artist Jesús Arrúe, that has been removed from a city wall to be exposedfor a year, in this Valencian cultural center.

This action has been possible thanks to the citizen mobilization and the author of the work of urban art through social networks, and with the involvement of the Valencia City Council and the cultural center to save the graffiti, which was located on the wall of a building that was going to be demolished.

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The graffiti has been extracted from the wall by specialists from the master’s degree in Conservation and restoration of cultural property from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and transferred this morning to the Gothic cloister of the El Carme museum.

The portrait will remain on display in this cultural center for a period of approximately one yearas reported by the Consortium of Museums of the Valencian Community.

“At the Center del Carme we carry out intense and constant work around the urban art, one of the disciplines that define the society of our time“, has pointed out the director of the consortium of museums and the CCCC, José Luis Pérez Pont.

The David Bowie graffiti was painted between May and June 2019, next to the old painting studio of its author, Jesús Arrúe, on Calle Beneficencia de València, in the old part of the city. The work also has a special meaning for the artist, who is a great admirer of Bowie and Madonna, who acquired one of his works.

It’s about a figurative portrait of British singerand since its creation it has become one of the most popular and representative works of Valencian urban art.

In August 2022, work began on the building where the graffiti was located and Arrúe launched a campaign on Instagram with the label #savegraffitibowie to save the work from its possible demolition and relocate it to another public place.

Finally, after the citizen mobilization and the collaboration of the owner of the building, the graffiti has been removed from the wall through a complex process, paid for by the Consortium of Museums, with the participation of the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Thus, this portrait has become the first work of urban art pardoned in Spainwhich will be exhibited in what was the dungeon of the old monastery.

Jesús Arrúe, in statements to EFE, thanked the citizen mobilization that has made it possible to save the work and that is also a “recognition of urban art” and his work“because I have never felt like a prophet in my land, like many other artists”.

Bowie’s graffiti was one of the best-known works of the Valencian figurative and expressionist artist, since it was also included in one of the tourist routes for urban art in the city.

Arrúe points out that when the news of the possible demolition of the wall spread, he received the offer of a private buyera regular and well-known customer whose identity he has not wanted to reveal.

He also affirms that he has received calls from other museum spaces for his exhibition after his visit to El Carme de València, and “That is the route that I would like it to have, its public exhibition”which was for which the work was born, he points out.