Today I got to meet with Aida who is the lead on the VaPorLaRoma project. I believe she has a natural ability to make people feel comfortable. She also seems to have connected with almost every person we crossed during our walk in the colonia. She spoke english and I spoke spanish. Every day I am pushing myself to get a grip on the language. Not hiding from it this time. Learning so much.
So the site is interesting. It is the front of a primary school. They are doing the murals to highlight that the school has been closed since the September earthquakes. Not because of damage to the school, but because the building behind it is severely damaged and may fall into the school yard. The hope is that by creating this focal point they can convince the government to do their job. Can you imagine how many lawsuits there would be in the US if a school were closed for this reason? My mind reels. The overall mission here is to beautify a neighborhood that has not recovered from the earthquakes. By creating a visual cultural corridor they are hoping more foot traffic will come through. The list of artists participating is quite impressive and I am honored to be apart of this.
The challenges are real. The surface is brick but not evenly laid brick. The theme must be about the indigenous communities of Oaxaca. There are 68 unique cultural communities in the state of Oaxaca. If you have been to La Ciudad de Oaxaca you definitely get that it is the cultural soul of Mexico. An amazing place. Also the mural needs to focus on women. So, my original thoughts were not really appropriate for this project. No worries because when I got to see the two murals sharing the front of the school I was inspired. I thought about how the building next door had collapsed and people had moved into the ruins so they’d have a home. I was thinking about the strong female figures in the other murals. The colors and use of traditional patterns. I went across the street and pulled out my sketchbook to jot down this idea.
The idea here is to use Siqueiros style figures holding up the edge of each wall. I want them to have the strong bodies low to the earth and heavy muscled women. They will be wearing traditional garments with the colors and patterns of the cultures (to be researched and verified).
Then there is that huge light above. I wanted to include that in the composition. So what I am going to do is paint a line down to the mural to connect it – and then have a rainbow beam coming out towards the ground. The beam will be constructed to look like a traditional loom and the weave will be rainbow colored. The background will be painted black since the other two murals use that convention. I may do a blend down from top of purple into black to give the wall some perspective as well.
So far I am just getting the idea out. Tomorrow will be research and sketching. I am hoping to have the full design by Thursday so I can send the list of what I will need. Stay tuned because I am going to be trolling for donations to help buy paint for this project. This project being VaPorLaRoma – which includes my mural. That will be coming to you soon enough :-).