Baltimore artist Pablo Machioli believes murals have a positive, transformative effect upon communities. He explains that discovery and participation are key to success. Pablo urges the artist to meet with the local community; open and maintain communications; discover and build an understanding of their backgrounds, customs and traditions; and then seek out and incorporate their ideas into the design of the mural to insure it reflects the heritage and shared values of the local community.
In the spring of 2014, Pablo Machioli took his Respirando Paz – Breathing Peace mural project to Cusco, Peru. With the collaboration and support of the teachers and students of the Tupac Amaru School in Cusco, he created a block-long mural … the first of its size in Cusco. Musicians playing pan pipe flutes form the sides of the mural. In between the musicians one sees a pair of hands holding a green heart; feet entwined by lush vines growing out of the heart; a puma; a condor; and, a lush Andean landscape in the background. The mural pays homage to the ancient indigenous culture of the Cusco Region, once the capital of the Inca Empire.
Upon his return to Baltimore, he created a number of paintings depicting the native costumes of the mountain villagers; the skilled hands and artistry of a weaver named Susana; and other pieces symbolic of the Andean culture. The gallery show Follow Her ran January 23rd-February 18th at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore. It featured artwork by Lunar New Year, Mata Ruda, Pablo Machioli, Nanook, Nether, Gaia, and Joey Alzamora as well as music by Lauren Poor. The show was a fund raiser to continue the artistic journey Pablo Machioli began last year in Peru.
The signature piece of the gallery show was a painting by Pablo depicting a native woman (Mamita) in a brightly colored aguayo walking away from the viewer. Pablo says the painting symbolizes how the indigenous people embrace their rich, long-standing culture. They are open to outside contact and to working with people of other traditions, nations, and beliefs. However, they want and expect other people to respect their indigenous culture and not try to change it. Each of the other artists contributed artwork equally evocative and symbolic of the pressures and forces indigenous people face today in preserving their age-old traditions and culture.
Pablo and the other artists plan to raise funds this year for a return in 2016 to the Cusco Region. There in the mountain village of Paucartambo they will create a large-scale mural. They plan to reach out to the Q’ero Nation, whose five communities are direct descendants of the Incas, and work with the Q’ero Nation to help preserve through new artwork and music its rich cultural heritage – its ceremonies, costume, traditions, and connection to the natural environment. Upon their return, Pablo and the other artists will produce a documentary film of their time and experience in Peru as well as recreate their Paucartambo mural here in the United States.
Charm City Streets will keep you informed of forthcoming fundraisers in support of the next steps for Follow Her.