Muralism is flourishing in Honduras as a growing number of international muralists come to the country to express their ideas, leave messages of solidarity with the environment, and use art to critique the political, economic and social systems.
The art of muralism found an echo in La Arada, Santa Bárbara, a town where peace meetings have been historically held between the inhabitants of different towns. Now, the peasants can see their history reflected on the walls of their houses and those of their neighbors.
Muralism was an artistic movement that began in Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century. Created by a group of Mexican intellectual painters after the Mexican Revolution, the art was reinforced by the Great Depression and the First World War. Although the initiative of Mexican artists to paint on the walls of public buildings arose since 1910, the muralist movement began in the 1920s, legitimizing itself with the Mexican Revolution.The desire for a true transformation emerged, as Mexico sought a social, political and economic revolution. The mestizos, the middle and lower class united against Porfirio Díaz.
What is the Guancasco?
The Guancasco is a millenary Lenca dance that promotes peace. The Lencas are Mesoamerican indigenous people of southwestern Honduras and eastern El Salvador. The wars and lawsuits between Lenca communities in pre-Columbian and colonial times were part of the search for hegemony between caciques and señoríos, the only way to settle their differences was through a dance called Guancasco.
The meeting between neighboring communities celebrated coexistence, peace and respect. In the ritual, food and drink were given to the residents of the community in which the Guancasco was performed.
After the colonial era, Los Lencas enriched Guancasco with religion, where, in addition to a peace agreement between communities, the Guancasco became a practice of gratitude to God, and a celebration of patrones among the peoples involved. The celebrations of Guancasco have lasted through time, and continue to be observed throughout Honduras.
A Muralist Guancasco is taking place in La Arada. More than 70 international and national muralists have met in the department of Santa Bárbara, in the municipality of La Arada, to draw and paint art on more than 100 walls with different messages. The social, political and economic revolution that is muralism will take place through a peaceful meeting, (Guancasco).
La Arada is a town of agriculture, livestock and coffee, elements that are being reflected in the murals, The municipality formerly known as Villa de El Ocotal, changed its name to La Arada, because the inhabitants traditionally went out to work and said “ Let’s go to the plow,” which means, “let’s go work with the oxen.” La Arada is one of the 28 municipalities in the department of Santa Bárabara.
“I feel happy to be in Honduras. People are very kind to me. I like the mountains. My goal for being here is to open minds through art, to inspire creativity, to use a different type of messaging to highlight problems, through beautiful images,” Shendra Stuki, Swiss muralist.
The mayor of the Municipality of La Arada, Santa Bárbara, Arnold Avelar, is convinced that the investment in the murals will not only beautify the town, but also stimulate the local economy and development.
“The people will have the opportunity to have many citizens from different countries sharing their talent, we will have the opportunity to train, educate and entertain on topics of interest. In addition, we will train our young people on mural arts,” said Mayor Arnold Avelar.
Doña Vicenta Pineda, assures that it is an enhancement for the town, that there will be many visitors:
“I offered my wall so that they could paint a reef for me and paint my husband taking care of the cattle and my dog. These memories will stay on that wall,” said Doña Vicenta Pineda.
There is no doubt that this Easter, La Arada will become a tourist attraction for the world, its murals will be the attraction of adults and children, who will come with their cameras and carry with them the messages drawn on their walls.
Turcios graduated from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras. He is a News Presenter on Paradise TV, in Santa Bárbara, Honduras. He enjoys telling stories of overcoming, solidarity and perseverance of the “tierra adentro” peoples of rural communities, their way of life and how they work after their dreams. Turcios is also featured in Honduras’ daily news and #Mundo. He is a former public relations officer for UN Women in Honduras, promoting campaigns in support of women in politics.