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Graffiti damage at the Angel of Independence in Mexico City. Graffiti damage at the Angel of Independence in Mexico City.

Repairing monument’s graffiti damage will be costly, time-consuming

Paint sprayed on the Angel of Independence during a protest Friday penetrated the centuries-old stone

Repairs to Mexico City’s Angel of Independence monument, damaged during a protest on Friday, will cost between 15,000 and 30,000 pesos (US $760-$1,500) per square meter, according to an estimate by restorer Luis Campos Velazco.

The monument was damaged by graffiti during a protest against gender violence on Friday.

Campos, who participated in the restoration of the Chinese Clock on Bucareli street in 2010 and 2011, said the cost will depend on how badly the monument’s cantera and marble were affected.

The extent of the damage will be known when restorers from the National Center for Conservation and Registry of Artistic Property Heritage (Cencropam) release their report.

“The restoration will be very delicate, take a lot of time, and be very costly. That’s the opinion I have from what we’ve seen in the past, for example, from when I restored the Chinese Clock,” said Campos.

The Chinese Clock was restored by Luis Campos Velazco.
The Chinese Clock was restored by Luis Campos Velazco.

“The damage that the Angel of Independence sustained is permanent,” said Campos, “because the paint penetrated some millimeters into the centuries-old stone.”

From his experience, it is not advisable to use abrasives to remove the paint.

“The first thing to do is carry out a study to know what types of materials are in the paints used and what the restorers think is best to clean the affected areas. Generally, when they begin to restore a monument, the first step is to wash it with Canasol, a non-ionic soap . . .” said Campos.

Meanwhile, the deputy director of the artistic heritage department of the Institute of Fine Arts (INBAL) told the newspaper Milenio that in order to restore the Angel of Independence, the institute will work in coordination with federal and Mexico City authorities.

Dolores Martínez said the exact cost, extent of the damage and the number of specialists required to clean and restore the monument are still unknown.

She also implied there will be finger-pointing for the damage: “The Secretariat of Culture and the administration of INBAL endorse freedom of expression, and of course support actions to eradicate all types of violence against women.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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