STORIES BEHIND: A Chubby Horse and a Big Fat Cat in Barcelona

Statues are everywhere in cities. Usually, we don’t even notice them. They are at the corner of our favourite cafe, on the shopping streets or in front of train stations that we use every day (at least we used to before the pandemic). But, some statues stand out, and the great city of Barcelona houses two of those!

A chubby horse and a big fat cat

At Barcelona El Prat airport, something unusual greets you since 1992: a chubby horse! No, it is not an odd local phrase for a gate or something. It is an actual chubby horse sculpture you will see just after you landed while trying to figure out where is the shuttle to the city centre. The horse sculpture in the airport, El Caballo, is a popular meeting point for the travellers. Well, how could you miss such an oversized house sculpture, right? So, it makes perfect sense. 

 

The cat sculpture is now in the Raval neighbourhood. However, this is not the first place that it was installed in 1987. Before its current location, it has travelled a lot in Barcelona. Initially, it was installed in Ciutadella Park, then moved to near the Olympic Stadium, then to Blanquerna, then to the Raval neighbourhood in 2003. Such a coincidence, it was the time when Raval had gone under regeneration, and a good piece of art is always a good start for such efforts! Apparently, it suited well in this so-called bohemian part of the city since it has finally settled there (or maybe it will go around again, who knows).

 

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This blogger defines the cat sculpture perfectly:

Its body looks like that of bears. It has a tree trunk of a neck. A tail like an elongated party balloon. And a face… I can never quite work out the face. It’s serene I think. Quizzical. Maybe just a little pissed off.

 

The sculpture also hosted various events itself. Once, its face was covered with a green scarf to support the historic campaign to make abortions legal in Argentina, or with a red one for the right to self-determination of indigenous people. It also sends a clear #StayAtHome message. Not all are politically charged though, here is a video of a crochet artist, Olek, covering the cat sculpture with knitted pieces.

Culture Trip lists the two sculptures among the most eccentric sculptures in Barcelona, that I cannot disagree with. However, the two seem going beyond just being eccentric and became landmarks, meeting points, tourist attractions, and political medium to communicate.

Well-done big ones, we are proud of you!