Walking in Malasaña, Fuencarral and Ballesta some weeks ago, I ran into a number of images on the walls that called my attention as they seeked to inscribe a specific presence in Madrid:
Was this a racist provocation to the large Asian community in the city? It was hard to tell, as the following and other images suggest that they are about something else:
Territorial markings? Asian self-representation? Fascinated by the tension created by the clash between stereotypical imagery and the affirmation of a “yellow power” that evokes the U.S. Black and Yellow Power cultural strategies from the 1960s, once at home I got online to see if I could find out something about their author.
In a recent interview, Chinese-Spanish street artist Yellow Power explains that his work is all about showing a reality in a humorous way. Spanish society still thinks about the local Chinese community in terms of stereotypes–docility, invasion, working at the Chinese store or restaurant–and so, he claims, his Yellow Power street art is the form of expressing the concept of Chinese empowerment.
By re-appropriating the pejorative term yellow, Yellow Power’s street art in Madrid seeks to throw off people’s expectations and attempts to make visible the reductionist logic of stereotypes,
sometimes by producing unexpected and joyful encounters such as these between Yellow Power and street artist Sabek:
Yellow Power has an account on Facebook where he regularly posts pictures of his pieces.
Madrid, 20 March 2014.