Gunnar Knechtel

Photography

Shanty town in Madrid

When I met the first time the inhabitants of the “Chabolas”, I had to contact the “chief” of the group. He advised me to ask each family for the specific permission in order to take pictures.

I was deeply impressed how the interiors of the huts were set up. It showed me a world of fantasy and creative improvisation. There are almost no standards of the so called modern world, which shows generally a high degree of equality, being dictated by design. In many huts Tetra Pak material was used as wallpapers, which

sealed the huts against humidity. In addition one of the owners told me that he loves

the colourful atmosphere, created by the empty juice containers.

Each family has constructed their own hut, with the support of their neighbours.

The community of the gipsies seems to live on another planet, in a quiet atmosphere

in contradiction to the busy city of Madrid with their 4 million inhabitants.

The population of the “Chabolas” are like little islands surrounded by jammed

motorways and new expensive suburban housing. Their strong sense of common life is organised by their own rules and traditions.

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