Mexican art is worldwide known for the muralist movement that, around 1920, invaded the walls of every important building in the country, and eventually, in the world. Artists like Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros created enormous murals depicting their social and political views. At some point, the murals even became more famous because of what they stood for than for the painting itself.
Since the Spanish Conquest, Mexico hadn’t had an artistic movement of its own. One that was created for and by its people, and that spoke to them in a language only they could really understand. This is why the muralism was such an important artistic expression. But that was a long time ago, and even though Mexican modern and contemporary artists are now being established among the top, there hasn’t been a movement as national and significant to the Mexicans as the muralism.
This is why, a group of young independent people from Puebla, who call themselves Colectivo Tomate, has chosen the muralism as a key tool towards social change. This non-governmental and non-profit group consists of people with a common belief: that art can move mountains. They firmly believe that their city, and even their country,can be improved through art; and they are determined to prove their point through a project called Puebla: ciudad mural (Puebla: mural city).
Xanenetla, an historic yet forgotten barrio in Puebla, is their starting point. This colorful neighborhood is really close to downtown and some of the buildings there are more than 100 years old. Originally, it was a potter town that eventually became a part of the Puebla, and got lost in the everyday chaos of this big city. But the truth is that it used to be a very important and beautiful town, and that is the feeling Colectivo Tomate is trying to recover. They’re gathering together local and international artists to come work for two weeks to the neighborhood and help the residents create the most amazing murals the city has ever seen.
Colectivo Tomate wants the murals to tell the story of this barrio and to be the detonator of many more improvements for that community. They want those works of art to establish this beautiful barrio as a new touristic point, and thus improve their economy and force the repair of their streets and public spaces. The residents of Xanenetla are excited about this project too. They know Puebla: ciudad mural will bring nothing but good things to them, and what moved the the most is the thought of living in more worthy houses.
They’ll begin painting on November 26, 2010 and hopefully this new muralism movement, with beneficial purposes more than political, will be a new force and will inspire people to do something for the needy and for their city. I thought this was something important to share with all of you, for is always important to seek the best for our city, and what better way than trough art.
This is an ongoing movement, and they need many hands, hearts and minds to really make a difference, so you can join if you want to. But must important, what Colectivo Tomate really want is this interest to become something global, in hope of creating a better world for all.
[photos courtesy of Vica Amuchastegui]