So, today I went down to the City of Arts and Sciences (CAC) to see the Ninot Exhibition.
So what’s a ninot? Well, it’s all to do with the Fallas festival. A ninot is a figurine, usually made of a paper mâché-like substance, which is paraded through the streets and then mounted on a huge artistic monument – or falla, for burning as part of the festival. Each barrio (neighbourhood) makes two fallas – one full-sized one and one smaller ‘falla infantil’. From now until 14 / 15th March, the ninots are on display for viewing – and voting – by the public.
You see, an important part of the exhibition is judging which of the ninots should be ‘pardoned’ from the flames and displayed in the city’s Fallas Museum (which is where I went in July, and well worth a visit in its own right).
There’s a lot more to it than that – including a huge amount of fireworks (Valencians seem to be particularly fond of using them to make a lot of noise) and apparently huge paellas too (although I doubt very much there will be a veggie option!) I can’t wait to experience it for myself, although I’m told to expect LOTS of noise and HUGE crowds. Apparently the population of Valencia pretty much trebles during the festival, so it’s going to get pretty busy. The good news is that my course (conveniently) finishes on 15th March, meaning that I’ll be free to enjoy the big weekend without having to worry about assignments or TPs!
Anyway, back to the ninots. So, there was a range of different styles and inspirations on display. Some were political. Some were amusing. Some were beautifully crafted works of art. It almost broke my heart to think that the vast majority will be going up in flames in just a few weeks (only one adult and one children’s ninot can be pardoned), but the casales falleros will quickly move on to planning for next year’s fallas – that’s the circle of life. I can appreciate there’s some strong symbolism in the whole thing. In a way, that’s its beauty.
However, they will not be forgotten. I promised photos and I took lots, but I’ve tried to select a few of my favourites from both the adult and children’s categories. (The last two pictures are of the same one – it was on a turntable. Clever, eh?)
I wonder whether you’ll be able to guess which ones I voted for?