“La Guerra Comienza Aqui” by Escif in Valencia, Spain
Street artist Escif created a new intervention in collaboration with the Center Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau. The mural ““La Guerra Comienza Aqui” which translates to “The War Starts Here” focuses on the economic component behind all wars: the military industry has much to gain in a climate of conflict and armed violence, and also has the support of governments and financial entities. The former allocate large budget items year after year to acquire weapons and authorize arms transfers to other countries. The vast majority of banks, for their part, finance weapons production in various ways.
“That is one of the interpretation that can be made of this mural: There are always those who profit from conflicts like the one we are seeing in Ukraine,” says the Valencian artist. As an example of this, from the pacifist entity they point out how “in the last week, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, we have seen the stock price of the large arms companies, located almost entirely in Northern countries rise”
The mural, which has been painted during the last 3 days of February near the old Fe de València hospital, has as its central figure an enormous cloud of smoke like the one that could be generated by a bombardment in a war context, and on its margins you can read the phrase “the war starts here”.
At the foot of the piece, feeding that smoke, we find a bill in flames that, according to those responsible for the mural, can also question at an individual level, because as research by the Delàs Center has shown, the financing of armies and weapons requires taxes paid by taxpayers and bank deposits.
“The military path, continuing to spend on weapons and fueling the arms race between countries, can only result in war, never peace. As much as the opposite is repeated to us”, concludes Jordi Calvo, coordinator of the entity.
Escif utilizes muted color palettes and straightforward motifs to convert walls around his home city of Valencia and other locations throughout Europe into perceptive ruminations on capitalism, politics, and society. He paints sparse scenes and objects with ties to their environment and current events, often relying on humor and wit to convey an underlying message.
Active in the Valencian art scene since the late 1990s, Escif is an internationally recognized artist with interventions in recent years in art centers such as the Power Station museum in Shanghai (China, 2016), the IVAM and the CCCC (Valencia, 2017 and 2020), the Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2018), and participation in events such as the Biennial of Contemporary African Art (Dakar, 2014), OFF Manifesta X (Saint Petersburg 2014), in the “Dismaland” project organized by Banksy in Weston-super-Mare (England, 2015) or the Lyon Biennale (France, 2019). He too received recognition for the 2020 City Hall Failure, which became symbolic of the fight against the pandemic.