Thursday, December 19, 2019

More murals in Guatemala!

About a year ago I worked with some of the coolest kids in Guatemala. I met them through my contact at the townhall in Alotenango, the town that was recovering from the deadly volcano eruption in June. I was about to paint a mural in the townhall and was offered assistance by the students of the Municipal Art Academy which turned out to be an art course for children and adolescents. The Municipality of Alotenango provides a teacher and classroom, the 15-20 participants bring their own materials.
I can always use some help, so, yes! And help they did! Although it was the first mural they ever painted, it was clear that they had both talent and some experience painting. They were eager to learn and we had a lot of fun. We finished the mural way too soon to their liking, the kids wanted more! So I decided to offer a few workshops and although the course had officially already stopped for the holidays, the kids were eager to assist.
 Since children in Guatemala don’t have regular access to museums or art galleries, I decided to do workshops on some famous and inspiring artists. The first one was Henri Matisse. We started the class hands-on, painting large sheets of paper with different techniques. The goal was to cover up the paper, not painting something recognizable, so the kids had a lot of fun experimenting with new techniques without the pressure of achieving a neat result.
Afterwards we explored the life and work of Matisse, which fascinated the participants. By the time the presentation was done, the sheets of paper had dried.  We discussed what we were going to create and decided on a volcano erupting butterflies, each one a symbol for the deceased after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano six months earlier. The kids starting cutting and pasting and soon the volcano took shape. It turned out quite beautiful and the concept was used again for a mural at the shelter in Alotenango, a few months later.
The Frida Kahlo workshop was also a success, this time resulting in beautiful self-portraits in soft pastels. Saying goodbye to those kids was tough, but I promised I’d try to come back…

By now I have changed the volcanoes of Guatemala for the north coast of Spain. But I haven’t forgotten about Guatemala and can’t wait to go back and paint some more…

I’m planning a trip in February of 2020. I already have a mural in a clinic lined up and hope to find financing for another project with those fantastic kids in Alotenango. This time the theme will be Diego Rivera and the project will take a full two weeks. We’ll of course explore the life and work of Rivera as well as the history of murals in general, in its socio-historical context. We’ll also study myths and legends of Guatemala. And then, like Rivera painted the history of Mexico on public walls, we’ll depict local legends on our own mural. It will be painted on a wall (approximately 3 x 5.5meters) in their own classroom of the municipal building, so they’ll be able to enjoy it themselves (as well as other people who make use of that space).

The kids and teacher are already very excited about this project, as am I! The only thing is… the financing I hoped to get fell through (the institution that offered to sponsor this project won’t decide till March and that will be too late) and actually also puts my whole trip in jeopardy, because I need at least two mural projects to make my trip worthwhile. So I’m desperately looking for sponsors!!! The whole project (two weeks of classes and painting) costs USD 950, including all materials and expenses. I hope to raise that amount, of course, but could adapt the project a little if necessary. Anyway, I hope there are some sponsors out there who are willing to make this happen! If so, thanks in advance for making this world a bit more beautiful!

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