The first participant in The I Love You Project was a black transgender woman living in Raval, Barcelona. She was energetic, pleasant, and proud. We laughed a lot during the recording. It was the perfect start to what would become a global project.
Raval is a vibrant, creative, and multicultural neighborhood. Some residents met each other for the first time during the project, arriving as strangers, and leaving as friends.
While drinking Cava, we discussed the political and social issues in the area. There were people who disliked the mix of ethnicities and religions, placing banners on their balconies that displayed their discontent.
The phrase "Volem un Barri Digne" means "We want a dignified neighborhood. It was a protest banner against that they felt was the deteriorating state of Raval. While it was true that Raval suffered from petty crime and prostitution, the phrase was hijacked by the right-wing residents; claiming that the immigrant population was the primary source of problems
When I returned some months later to exhibit the final project at Galeria ADA, the neighborhood residents who participated in the project changed the mood of Raval with their own banners. "We want a loving community." "We want a tolerant Raval." Etcetera.