WATER IS ONE
A New Face for the Gómez Morín Cultural Center
Photos: Aron Covaliu
QUERETARO, Queretaro (April 16, 2018) - The planet could run out of drinking water before 2050 and, in that same year, the World Economic Forum estimates that if the pollution in the oceans continues the course that it has taken so far, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.
Faced with this desolate scenario, urban art has a visual proposal that aims to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of water with colorful murals that were finished yesterday at the Manuel Gómez Morín Educational and Cultural Center of the State of Queretaro (CECEQ).
"Water Is One" is an international festival put together by Nueve Arte Urbano in coordination with the Hawaii-based PangeaSeed Foundation, which held a special edition of the SeaWalls: Artists for Oceans program in Queretaro, said Gemma Sánchez, manager of Nueve Arte Urbano. The festival held round tables, conferences, art exhibitions, music, dance and more, with the aim of "empowering people and their communities to create significant environmental change through 'ARTivism', education and science," according to its official site.
The event, in which more than 14 artists from Mexico and abroad participated, was held from March 27 until yesterday.
"The purpose is to paint; to bring light through art to the problems that exist around the care of water, oceans and marine species," said Sánchez.
"For about four years we kinda had this itch that they let us paint the Gómez Morin, we presented several projects, and at the end after insisting and insisting we achieved two things: that the PangeaSeed Foundation joined us to do something in Queretaro - where there’s no ocean - and that they let us have the walls of the El Pendulo Museum of Science and Technology."
Originally the lineup was made up of 14 artists, but eventually they were joined by more. There were artists from Queretaro, Mexico City and Michoacan, but also from the United States, New Zealand, Estonia, France and Canada.
The festival is not a contest but a collaboration, a voluntary work achieved thanks to the contribution of companies such as Incusa, Pinturas Osel and Mapei, added Sánchez.
"The paint is guaranteed to last 20 years; we hope that (the murals) last at least 10."
Water in Queretaro, a 20-hour trip
Sergio Morales Bello, aka Sermob, is one of the participating artists. In his work, captured on El Pendulo, he reflects with images about a notion: that in order for drinking water to reach Queretaro, it must travel 20 hours from the El Infiernillo spring.
"My work is divided into two parts: there’s a central part that’s above the door and talks about the effort that is made to bring the water to Queretaro, and the image is represented by a character that carries two 20-liter buckets, and his face is gloomy. I say that he’s a Tlaloc (the Aztec god of rain) of our time, that is, it’s not so easy anymore, even for the gods, to fulfill their mission. The parts on the sides are a human fused with a fish, in different positions, one downwards and another upwards. That speaks of how we should put ourselves in the other’s shoes so as to become aware of the problem, as humans we’re always very far removed from other forms of life and that’s why I decided to merge them, because maybe then there would be a real awareness, if we thought that we’re part of something more and not just humans."
Painting the piece involved challenges like the fact that the "canvas" is complicated because it has six pillars and a non-smooth surface, so you have to be very aware of the visual effects generated by its reliefs; not to mention the scorching sun.
For Sermob - from Mexico City - who used about a bucket and a half of paint for the bottom layer and more than 4 buckets for the work itself, the result was highly satisfactory.
"This mural is like a shirt tailored to El Pendulo and that's what I like, it doesn’t feel like imposing something on people, it's like embracing and covering a space."
You can visit CECEQ to see the results of "Water Is One" at Constituyentes and Pasteur, in the center of Queretaro. For more information on Nueve Arte Urbano, visit their Facebook page, here.