On Sundays in Nicaragua, I would sometimes try to balance out my ultra-conservative morning church time with mass at the place where I was volunteering, the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte. At the centre of the salón where the masses took place was a beautiful mural that combined Jesus and the Marxist New Man, conforming to Revolutionary ideals (and the era it was first painted, the 1980s).
The whole centre was, in fact, covered in murals. I think that this mural made a huge impression on me, because as I was reviewing my pictures yesterday to try and find the picture of the map I put up yesterday, I noticed that I am drawn to murals, public art, street art and graffiti. In post-Revolutionary Mexico, as in Nicaragua, murals were a state apparatus, where the state could instruct the Mexican people about revolutionary heroes, the new understanding of the past and present, and the future everyone was to work for. I also wonder what the relationship people have to these murals now, and whether advertising, pushing another agenda, can be thought of in a similar way. (Here in Mexico, and in Nicaragua, people are paid to paint their houses with particular brands, political parties or candidates). In other places I have visited, public art creates places to meet that are available to most people in the city, or that have been crucial to the revitalization of a certain area, or provide a place to reflect and critique current political movements. The slideshow below shows some of my recent favourites.