Abandoned church transformed into amazing colourful skate park

An abandoned church in northern Spain has been dramatically transformed into a skate park covered in colourful geometric patterns.

Abandoned church transformed into amazing colourful skate park
Photo: Lucho Vidales / Church Brigade

The church of Santa Barbara in Llanera in Spain’s northern region of Asturias once served a thriving parish for workers at the local munitions factory, but attendance dwinded after the factory closed at the end of the Spanish Civil War.

Designed by architect Manuel Bobes, the Romanesque revival structure fell into disrepair until a collective called the Church Brigade bought up the crumbling edifice in 2007.

A combination of crowdfunding and sponsorship by Red Bull saw the 1912 church building fully repaired and transformed with the addition of ramps turning into a public skate park dubbed the Kaos Temple.

But the final magical transformation came last month when renowned Madrid street artist Okuda San Miguel covered the interior walls and vaulted ceilings with a kaleidoscope of colourful geometric patterns.

“It is like my personal Sistene chapel,” said the artist in a video interview about the project.

The images published on the artist’s Instagram account show the amazing end results.

The artist Okuda San Miguel surveys his 'canvas' before starting work:

As work got underway:

And the amazing end results:






Paul Gauguin’s ‘Mata Mua’ returns to Spain

One of French painter Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, "Mata Mua", will return to a Madrid museum on Monday following an agreement between the Spanish government and its owner, who took it out of the country.

mata mua madrid
Toward the end of his life, Gauguin spent ten years in French Polynesia, where he completed some of his most famous artwork Painting: Paul Gaugin

The artwork had been on display for two decades at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum but in 2020 when the institution closed because of the pandemic, the painting’s owner Carmen Thyssen moved it to Andorra where she currently lives.

Her decision to take “Mata Mua” to the microstate sandwiched between Spain and France raised fears she would remove other works from her collection which are on display at the museum.

“It is expected that the painting will arrive today,” a spokeswoman for the museum told AFP.


In 1989, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza bought Mata Mua at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Painting: Paul Gauguin

The artwork will go back on display to the public “a few days after” Thyssen signs a new agreement with the Spanish state for the lease of her collection, she added. The deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

Painted in 1892 in vivid, flat colours, “Mata Mua” depicts two women, one playing the flute and the other listening, set against a lush Tahitian landscape.

It is one of the stars of Thyssen’s collection of several hundred paintings which are on show at the museum, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

Her collection had initially been displayed at the Madrid museum as part of a free loan agreement signed in February 2002 that was subsequently extended.

But in August 2021 Spain’s culture ministry announced it had reached an agreement with Thyssen to rent the collection from her for 15 years for €97.5 million ($111.5 million), with “preferential acquisition rights on all or part” of the works. The collection includes a Degas, a Hopper and a Monet.

Aside from housing her collection of works, the museum displays the collection of her late husband, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Swiss heir to a powerful industrial lineage who died in Spain in 2002.

The Spanish state bought his collection in 1993 from $350 million, according to the museum.