Miss Van, a French street artist, posted images of the painting she created on a ruined house, which seems to be in the area of Mirador de los Valles. The image is a surreal, romantic depiction of a woman’s head, with horns, red hair and a beaked carnival mask that matches the green of the house’s door.
Miss Van is the artistic name of Vanessa Alice, a Toulouse-born street artist whose work has been seen all over the world, although she has confined herself to studio works in recent years. She accompanied her post with the message “Lanzarote, I’m in love with you. I found this spectacular abandoned house and decorated it. As you know, Io haven’t painted spontaneously in the open air for years, but this island is more than inspiring.”
The post has been liked by almost 7,000 people, including Lanzarote street artist Sabotaje Al Montaje, but the Nueva Canarias political party condemned “another attack on our historical heritage” and called for severe measures to be introduced.
Cabildo President Oswaldo Betancort has also responded, saying “I’m against this type of artistic actions on our soil. There is a place for art on our islands, but it must be integrated and respectful of our heritage.”
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After publishing photos of the works on Instagram, Vanessa Alice, who paints under the name Miss Van, received strong criticism on social media. After Cabildo President Oswaldo Betancort invited the artist to discuss the issue, a “constructive meeting” took place. However, the island’s heritage department has issued a complaint that could result in a fine and issued an order to return the building to its previous state.
Miss Van posted a photo of the 18th century ruined house she painted on, showing crumbling walls, a collapsed roof and an old mattress on the floor. “Here are the ruins of Lanzarote’s heritage, and the people of the island are criticizing and insulting me for my painting, saying I’m destroying the island’s heritage. Something to think about, no?”
Miss Van claimed that Lanzarote has inspired her to start painting in the open air again after several years of working in the studio. “I feel bad that my painting has caused so much controversy and I’m sorry for having painted on a ruin classed as heritage, but I nor anyone else deserves such so much hatred from people who do not know my work. It’s the first time this has happened to me in 30 years of painting walls, and I think it’s very sad.”
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The action was taken after Cabildo President invited the artist to a meeting last Monday. Images of the 18th century ruin at Mirador Los Valles were posted on Instagram showing the building, from which the painting of a red-haired carnival figure removed.
Betancort also “condemned all the hateful messages that have been directed at the artist. Not everything goes, and good manners should always come first. We should make complaints without crossing certain borders,” he stated.
The hostility and anti-tourist tone of many of the messages appears to have taken the authorities by surprise and has prompted the artist to comment “We are not welcome here.”
Vanessa Alice apologised one more time, adding “I painted with good intentions, integrating the painting into the rural environment, using colours that already existed in the house, and creating a poetic and harmonious dialogue between past and present,” she said.
She concluded that the episode had increased her desire “to paint in places where people know how to enjoy and value it.”