On a weekday Wednesday, after noon, 14 people visited the hearts of Bocacangrejo, converted for some time into a kind of giant outdoor photocall. There were some young people from the South, peninsular tourists, some foreigners… This is a clear example of the degree of visitor attraction that these paintings that a neighbor has been making have. His name is Rafael Marichal, he is 73 years olds and has filled with color the part closest to the sea of this nucleus of the El Rosario coast.
The colorful hearts are the work of Rafael Marichal, a 73-year-old resident of Bocacangrejo
Since the story was known, its popularity, far from diminishing, has been growing. ANDhe reason, to a large extent, is due to the influencers or digital content creators who have visited the area and have been photographed next to the hearts, who are not influencers but have also immortalized the moment and have published it on their networks. social networks, and some travel blogs that lead tourists to incorporate this enclave, made up of self-built houses and alleys, on their route around the Island, making it a stopping point on the South highway.
Rafael Marichal, whom everyone calls Rafa, is made for popularity. He attends to this newspaper with the solvency of someone who has been interviewed on several occasions. «This started after the eruption of La Palma»He starts his story. “I put ‘We are all La Palma’ and I began to go further”, he explains, before indicating that every day, regardless of whether it is summer or winter, many people come. “What makes a thing so small and so big!” he exclaims.
Rafa was born in 1951 in the Santa Cruz neighborhood of La Alegría. He explains that he was left an orphan and was welcomed in the Casa Cuna. “Until I got tired and ordered to move,” he says. “From there I devoted myself to cooking, to all kinds of carvings, to making balls…”, he lists. Thirty years ago he arrived in Bocacangrejo and built his cave-house, where he has his bed and kitchen just a few meters from the sea.
paintings and bracelets
“Nobody has helped me do anything,” he says about the hearts project. “What I want is that they put a couple of parents to fix the gardens that we have up here,” he says in the direction of the City Council when asked if he needs their collaboration. Those who have contributed to him are some visitors and friends who have given him buckets of paint or material to make bracelets that he distributes to those who come to visit his work. “It’s over a million bracelets,” he says.
One of the visitors, named Fernando and 38 years old, is delighted. «I did not expect it like this. I had seen some photos on the internet, but since they were mostly of people posing in front of the hearts, I thought there were fewer, but the whole promenade is full. Explain. His is a local case: he is a resident of Tacoronte and wanted to take advantage of the day off to go to the beach. As he explains, he initially went to Candelaria, but later he remembered that he had seen the hearts on Instagram and went to Bocacangrejo, an area that he used to frequent in some summers of his youth with family members and that he had not visited since before the pandemic.
Although hearts predominate, there are also some crab and some lobster. The set is broader: painted seashells, religious images to which he also gave color and his home integrated into the composition. As they began to paint, he even put his initials on the door of his house: RML “I have been painting colors one on top of the other,” says Rafa about the work system that he has applied during this time. «Each heart has its thing: the blacks are for the people they have killed; the reds, because of passion… », he points out.
The ultimate goal that Rafael Marichal seeks with his work is for “people to see something else, joy.” And it seems that, in effect, visitors leave with that perception. Laura and Alicia, in their twenties and who were also in the place, share the idea. “It’s very pretty, it’s colorful, we like it,” Laura explains when she asks them about what they just saw. In this case, they arrived there during their journey to the south of the island. They had planned to go to El Médano or La Tejita and took advantage of the journey to make a stop in Bocacangrejo. “Honestly, we stopped for the novelty to see this and take the photo,” they say. “To tell you the truth, it’s the first time I’ve come here,” says Alicia about this enclave located on the Rosario coast.
As visitors come and go, the author of the paintings carries out his daily tasks and, in between, attends to them, explains the initiative and gives them the bracelets he makes. The project of the hearts is right now the axis of his day to day. And what inspired you to start it up? “I was inspired by myself, by my reflection, in my way,” says Rafa, the soul of a poet. What he is most satisfied with is the appreciation that people show him towards his work. “There are those who have even left here crying,” he says. “There was an old person who came with canes and who came down just to meet me. He told me: ‘Thank you very much. I’m very proud of you.’ I was trembling », he exposes.
The parking problem
The success of the paintings has created a parking problem in Bocacangrejo. Some neighbors are very upset. It is clear with the anger of a man who appears while Rafael Marichal places a bracelet on a visitor. Another resident will later join the same complaint. And it is that they were used to the area filling up in summer or in certain holiday periods, but not any day of the year. It is true that, in itself, there are few parking spaces. |