A Melting Polar Bear and Surreal Wildlife Sculptures Burn in the Annual Falles Spectacle

After a COVID-related hiatus the annual FallesFestival in Valencia, Spain, returns with an extravagant celebration of fire and sparks. The five-day pyrotechnic event draws thousands of people into the streets each March to witness fireworks, explosions, and a variety of sculptures burn to the ground, and at the heart of this year’s production was a 23-foot polar bear by artist Antonio Segura, aka Dulk (previously).

The following works were created by PichiAvo, Okuda San Miguel, Escif in previous iterations, Dulk’s fantastical and surreal “Protect What You Love” featured wildlife and plants balanced on top of the cold-weather creature. The two-year-old project was completed with cardboard and wooden. Once on site, a team assembled approximately 30 vignettes around the central piece. Dulk explains that each work speaks to the urgent need for climate change mitigation.

The mother polar bear is seen in the main square for falles. Her fur melts like a candle and other animals seek refuge around her. They are lost and they are all in search of a new habitat… The koala represents the wildfires of Australia in 2019/2020 where over 60,000 of the creatures lost their lives.

Borneo’s orangutan is a symbol of Borneo, where their rapid decline in species status is directly due to hunting, logging Palm oil and developments in Agroforestry. To reflect the loss in marine life due to overfishing, the fish is now shaped like a can.

“Protect What You Love,” which burned this last weekend, is a poetic reminder of how quickly loss can occur. “While this is just a metaphor it could become our reality unless we begin to change our behaviour,” Dulk tells Charlotte Pyatt in an interview with Juxtapoz. “I hope the event more than anything else, encourages awareness and action for these urgent concerns.”

Photos © Jesus Amable

Photo © Jesus Amable

Photo © Jesus Amable

Photo © Jesus Amable

Photo © Carlos Segura

Photo © Carlos Segura

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