Colors in the City
– The Street Murals
By Teri Saya
Let’s talk about the murals found in and around Guadalajara. If you explore by city bus, you have time to look out the windows and observe some of these marvels as the bus rumbles through the neighborhoods. My husband and I recently started using public transportation and boarded a city bus. This bus took us toward where we were headed, but then veered off into a long tour completely around, but not near our destination. We ended up riding the bus to the end of its route and back again which led to a very interesting tour of the city and surrounding area.
We started noticing the murals. Some adorned storefronts, doorways, and curbs. Some stretched for yards along cinderblock walls. Some peeked around and into corners, and some covered whole sides of buildings from roof to sidewalk! Many of the murals that we saw were technically as well as artistically amazing! We have all seen the famous Orozco, Rivera and Siqueiros murals, and, of course, those are fabulous. However, these we were observing as we rode past, seemed to have been done by a variety of unknown or little-known street artists. People that felt the need to express themselves by telling a story or protesting society’s blunders, with a multitude of color and shadows on a large, permanent structure.
We got off the bus well past El Centro in an area we had never seen before and decided just to walk around and look. There were so many different styles and techniques of painting. Some of the murals were beautifully and painstakingly done, but had no signature that we could distinguish. The larger murals looked to be painted by several different artists. A couple of murals had been partially destroyed by erosion and collapsing walls. Some were in places where you would not expect to find a mural. In alleyways between buildings or up so high, you would have to be in the building across from it to get a proper perspective.
When we got home, I researched and found that while traveling here from California, and then living here in Zapopan, we had only seen a miniscule part of this vast art form. One that stands out in my mind is the Quetzalcoatl snake mural that slithers down the entire side of an apartment building. It is located at Calle Libertad 1981, in the Americana section of Guadalajara. Drive by and take a look. It’s quite a sight and photos don’t do it justice.
Anywhere there is a blank wall, sidewalk, or ceiling; there is a potential for an artistic urban expression from a talented muralist.