Mixquiahuala and its outdoor mural gallery

The colony is an outdoor gallery where locals have agreed to have the walls of their homes painted by artists
Mixquiahuala and its outdoor mural gallery
Murals in the Morelos quarter, in Hidalgo – Photo: Valente Rosas/EL UNIVERSAL
28/02/2018
15:53
Mixquiahuala, Hidalgo
Dinorath Mota
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The story of the Morelos quarter can be divided into two: before and after the murals. Until 2013, this rural community to the south of the state of Hidalgo went unnoticed by outsiders. It's dusty roads and gray houses were the evidence of the lack of economic and cultural development. After 2013, however, the streets of this community became the walls of the “world's largest outdoor mural gallery.”

This Morelos – not to be confused with the state Morelos – is located at 70 kilometers from Pachuca and its population of nearly 3,000 are mostly farmers and teachers. There are only basic and secondary education schools here.

A paved road surrounded by agricultural lands leads to the Morelos quarter; at the center, there is a small garden with a kiosk and the Town Hall offices, in whose paintings you can find depicted the story of this town.

mural1.jpg
(Photo: Valente Rosas/EL UNIVERSAL)

Morelos is part of the Municipality of Mixiquiahuala, ruled by the Labor Party (PT) and before the murals, it was nothing of note.

The mural project was conceived by Jesús Rodríguez, a master in Visual Arts and professor at the School of Arts of the Autonomous University of Hidalgo. This project is the only of its kind in Mexico. While there are large murals in Monterrey, in the Morelos quarter “muralism emulates in its Pre-Hispanic and popular conception the art of José Clemente Orozco. David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Diego Rivera.”

While Rodríguez had initially planned to bring the project to a nearby community, he met José Ventura, then the local delegate of the Ministry of Public Education, and convinced him to change locations.

The first step in the project; however, was to win over the locals. But as soon as the murals progressed – painted mostly by foreign artists – several townspeople gave in and began to paint their house walls and facades white, applying a coat of sealant and a vinyl base. The cost of this was covered by the house owners and the cultural group La Fortaleza, led by Ventura.

Neither the local or state government contributed.

mural2.jpg
(Photo: Valente Rosas/EL UNIVERSAL)

And so, 140 artists from over 22 countries – such as Argentina, Brazil, France, Spain, United States, and Portugal – have arrived since in Morelos to agree on a mural design with the house owners. Thus far, 161 murals have been born this way.

Among the most renowned painters to have come to this community are Wilson Zambrano, twice winner of the painting award in Bolivia, and Argentinian Kike Yorg, whose works have sold for as high as one million dollars but here, his legacy was “for the love of art.”

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