Illustrator Carla Berrocal pays tribute to classic and contemporary Spanish culture in her intervention on the facade of the Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador in the United States.

Spanish artist Carla Berrocal creates new art intervention on some of the windows of the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain in Washington, D.C.: the Beaux-Arts Mansion in the 16th Street Washingtonian Historic Distric, home to the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain, as part of our Ventana Program.

This is my tribute to Spanish culture. I planned the project so that the lower windows were classic-art-oriented and the upper ones contemporary-art-oriented.

In the lower ones, the image is framed by two minotaurs. I found it to be very interesting subverting them by turning them into female figures who, in addition, were undertaking agricultural works. This is because agriculture is often despised, or not considered to be part of our culture. Furthermore, the figure of the minotaur has been frequently included in the works by painters like Picasso and it seemed to me it was an interesting link.

In the central figure, Sor Juana Inés De la Cruz, whom I have decided to include as a literary reference due to her importance in connection with Latin America, but also as a gay icon. And next to her, more classical figures: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, for their relationship with Spanish canonicism, and Velázquez, as an example of the wide quality of fine arts.

Finally, and to frame these figures, the background landscape makes a short scenic route that goes from the Canary Islands, through the Castilian or the Andalusian landscape.

In the upper windows I have included four contemporary icons of Spanish culture: Maruja Mallo (Painting), Federico García Lorca (Literature), Almodóvar (Cinema) and Rosalía (Music), also emphasizing the importance of popular music by adding two anonymous characters dancing and playing.— Carla Berrocal

Carla Berrocal was born in Madrid, where she completed her illustration and graphic design studies. She has written comic reviews for Guía del Cómic and also contributed to the radio show of Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid on the same subject. In 2004, Recerca Éditorial published her first pulp-theme work, ’Hire, el terrible vampiro samurai, written by Daniel Hartwell. In 2005, in collaboration with Jason DeGroot, she published Mad Trio for the same publishing house. Her first stories with her own script and drawings were published in the Quatroccento monographs in 2006. They were edited by Jorge Iván Argiz at the Dolmen publishing house. Following a creative break, she worked on small compilations such as Nariz, Dos Veces Breve and Reyes X.

2011 saw the publication of her first graphic novel El Brujo (De ponent). Her second graphic novel, Epigrafías (Libros de Autoengaño) was published in 2016. She has worked on many different publications such as Hundlebert Syndrome, Revista Fierro, Quimera, Monográfico and Nobrow. She coordinated and participated in the collective work Todas Putas: los cuentos gráficos (Dibbuks, 2014).

In 2019 she won an artist residency in the Royal Spanish Academy in Rome for her comic project Doña Concha, where she draws about the life and work of the Spanish singer Concha Piquer. It will be published in 2021 by Reservoir Books (Random House Mondadori).

She works in her own design studio, and teaches workshops on comics and graphic novels in various institutions. She is also a comic artist for several different publications and an illustrator for countless advertising agencies and publishing houses.

Ventana, a Window to Spanish Culture is a program created by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) that aims to promote Spanish creators, institutions, festivals, and cultural industries through digital content to support their internationalization during the current health crisis.

Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. 2801 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Image: Carla Berrocal. Pintura