Friday, June 21, 2024

100 murals to brighten up earthquake-damaged Juchitán

Four artists are collaborating with the government of Juchitán, Oaxaca, to paint 100 murals as part of efforts to beautify the earthquake-ravaged municipality.

Houses fell like dominoes in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec municipality when an 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chiapas just before midnight on September 7, 2017. Not only were many homes and other buildings destroyed but also most of the murals painted by two artists’ collectives in the preceding years.

In that context, the government led by Morena party Mayor Emilio Montero Pérez launched a project called “100 murals for Juchitán” that is aiming to have all the artworks completed by the end of its three-year term in 2022.

Jesús Vicente Lagunas, one of the four muralists hired by the local council, told the newspaper El Universal that 45 murals have already been painted, explaining that they feature “characters and trades of the city – men making huaraches [traditional sandals], women embroiderers and cooks … children playing marbles and flying kites.”

Municipal urban art director Jesús Vicente Lagunas said that the aim of painting the murals is to beautify Juchitán and remind residents of the people “who give and have given their best for society.”

Francisco Toledo, the Juchitán-born artist who died last year, is featured on one of the new murals.
Francisco Toledo, the Juchitán-born artist who died last year, is featured on one of the new murals.

The four artists working on the government initiative have already painted murals featuring icons of Juchitán, such as iguanas and embroidery, at the recently rebuilt 5 de Septiembre Market, he said.

While the “100 murals for Juchitán” project is adding much-needed color to the streets destroyed by the 2017 earthquake, not all residents are happy about it.

Some local artists, such as muralist David Orozco, say that they were not invited to participate in the project.

“They’ve hired people without a background in muralism. I have more than 20 years [experience] and I feel excluded. I believe that [a project with] public resources should include everyone,” he told El Universal.

In contrast, a 53-year-old food vendor who features in one of the murals couldn’t be happier.

“Of course I’m happy. My children are happy and my neighbors were surprised when the young men finished painting me,” Guadalupe Vásquez Felipe said.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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