On March 10th, 2020, Fallas was cancelled, due to the CoVID-19 pandemic. This hadn’t happened since the Spanish Civil War, and was something we barely considered plausible. I mean, the celebrations were already underway! In fact that plantà of the big figures had already begun! But now, it was all over. Valencia was in shock… as were we.
That very day, we went to see the mascletà as usual, not having the slightest idea that it would be the last. But the decision came in later that evening, and by the next day Fallas was over… or at least delayed. Half-finished figures at corners and plazas, no more mascletàs, marching bands put on mute. And now, it seemed, everyone for the first time understood the seriousness of Covid-19.
Before the lockdown started, we went to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento to see the figure of the meditating woman one last time. Over night, the artist Escif and his team had placed a giant face mask over the mouth of the woman. This brilliant touch has instantly made the figure iconic and unforgettable. Her image ended up on several news pages, even outside of Spain, and even though Fallas was cancelled, this will surely be among the most long-remembered of figures.
Escif asked the city of Valencia to let him finish the figure, as a symbol and reflection of these times. Although many Valencians supported this idea, the city only the head to be preserved. The torso was burned without ceremony or an audience.
We used the last couple of days before the lockdown, to document the deconstruction of the figures. A couple times, we caught ourselves actually waving goodbye to the pieces, as they were being packed back up, and shipped off to storage. Hopefully we’ll see you again soon, little ninots!