The following work chronicles how Spain’s largest constitutional crisis since its transition to democracy manifests itself in Catalonia’s public spaces. As an autonomous region of Spain with its own cultural heritage and language, Catalonia’s national aspirations came to a head with the Spanish state on October 1st 2017 when the autonomous government of Catalonia held an independence referendum deemed unconstitutional by the Spanish state. The Catalan voters were met with police brutality and their leader’s political dissent answered with a judicial crackdown.
With Catalan civic and political leaders facing trial in Spain for charges of Rebellion and Sedition, the Catalan struggle for independence has continued its protest in the street as a way of vindicating its right to self-determination. The failed bid for independence has led to a divided Catalan society in which a parliamentary majority pursues the course set by the previously ousted autonomous government against the wishes of almost half of the Catalan population.
The result has been an almost two year identity crisis that has spanned beyond the Spanish court system and into the European Commission. These photographs explore how this crisis manifests itself through acts of civil disobedience, the use of nationalist symbolism, and ultimately a deep longing for a sense of identity.
Photographs with the caption (AP Photo/ Daniel Cole) were shot on assignment for the Associated Press.