11 artists share the work of constructing an elaborate mural

A.M. Costa Rica/Shahrazad Encinias Vela The mural in construction is just east of Castilloi Azul, the historic structure on the legislative grounds.

There is new graffiti along Cuesta de Moras in front of the Asamblea Legislativa in San José, but this isn’t random tagging on government property. The works were commissioned by the Federal Republic of German cultural arm, the Goethe Institute.

Eleven Costa Ricans and one German artist have begun their efforts to complete a mural as part of a transnational art project for México, Central America and the Caribbean called De mi barrio a tu barrio. Most of the mural sections aren’t done. But the artists have until Friday to complete their works.

The work is placed in an urban settings as part of an effort to engage in street art. This is the second stop in the tour following Jamaica.

The project allows the youth a space where they can beautify the city and demonstrate their skill, said a representative from the German Embassy. The embassy has provided space and support of the project.

German artist Jim Avignon is one of the artists heading the project. And he is the sole non-Tico artist participating in the mural. He said the tour is for one year, and it is meant to be a traveling exhibition. There is no way for them to transport the murals, so instead members of the project will take pictures of each art piece and turn them into posters. This will make it easier for other participating artists to get a feel for what is about to happen and for others to see what has been done in the previous countries, said Avignon.

The participating artists got the coveted spots in a competitive process, and now they are making history on the walls of the government building. The chosen few are fully sponsored by the Goethe Institute. They don’t have to pay for any of their supplies, which has allowed some to go above and beyond their usual means.
Jairo Hernández, one of the artists, said he designed a pre-Columbian creature with Mickey Mouse ears and then had it printed to about 10 feet. His character has been pasted to his part in the mural and takes over the space from the bottom of the wall to the very top of it. He said if it wasn’t for those that have paid for the supplies he would not have been able to complete a piece that size. He has combined a printed graphic to a painted wall. He isn’t done yet.

Some artists have used the typical form of painting. And others have used a more popular approach of graffiti with spray paint. Then others have mixed painting and spray painting to their piece.

The artists were allowed to construct any type of piece they wanted, regardless of the message. They were not censored, said the German Embassy representative. Very few have expressed political statements in their piece.

Artist Bang 7 has created a piece called La muerte se viste de seda or “Death dresses in silk.” He had a completely different project planned for his allotted wall space, but he said the first day they showed up to begin the mural they weren’t able to do anything. There was a protest in front of the Asamblea Legislativa.

He said that incident caused him to change his piece.

“There was a lot of discontent in the street,” he said. “After all, these paintings are for everyone.”

The others weren’t so affected by the protest. They have constructed something personal, their own creation.

Regardless of the theme or subject of their art, the different pieces will be combined to complete the mural, said Avignon.

“We want the art to mix,” he said. “It should be one big, crazy painting.”

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