A few years ago, when I went to Barcelona, I noticed a couple taking a photo of “a wall”. Intrigued by why on earth you would photograph a wall, I turned around and saw the cutest street art. Colourful empty cans, high up the wall that read “Jakuna Matata” – the Spanish version of Hakuna Matata, meaning ‘here are no troubles’ (but I’m sure everyone knows this from watching the Lion King). At first I thought it was just one art project, because I couldn’t find any others. I was very happy when I came back a year later and found some new ones. And a few more the year after, and so on. My ‘photo collection’ and my interest of who created these joyful art works kept growing.
It took me some time to find out who made them, but I’ve finally figured it out: Me-Lata. They’ve been creating and placing them all around Barcelona for about five years now. Jakuna Matata was one of their earlier pieces, and has been gone for quite a while now. The best part about ephemeral art is that it’s not meant to last forever.
I can seriously say these art pieces are one of my favourite things about the city. I try to visit Barcelona once a year, and I’m always happy when I find a new piece. Finding them gives me a feeling of finding a small treasure. Most of them are placed high above Barcelona’s busy streets, and even though they’re very colourful, they’re placed in a way you only see them when you’re looking for them (or if one of them happens to catch your eye).
All of their works (over five-hundred!) are focused on love, music and positive vibes. Most ones are very colourful and display a quote (either song lyric or a simple meaningful message), something Barcelona related, like a skyline, or just a small image of a heart or smiley face. Me Lata describes their mission as to illuminate and humanize the hearts and cold gray streets of cities.
Check out their Instagram me_lata for more of their work (and if you’re anything like me – try to find all of these art works on a BCN treasure hunt!)