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Conference presentation at the ISA

Session: Urban Art between Community and Artwashing

Session date/time: Saturday, 1 July 2023, 08:30

Room: 104, Melbourne Convention Centre


Transforming community through painting: The emergence of macromurals in Latin America


This paper traces down the emergence of the phenomenon of macromurals in Latin America. In recent years, macromurals have become a major trend and the most visible forms of art through which various actors try to transform marginalised communities in cities by painting their houses. The making of macromurals is then characterized by a tendency to chase magnitude resulting in their extraordinary visibility on urban surfaces: for instance, Parque de la Muralla was inaugurated as the biggest macromural in Peru, Macromural de Pachuca is considered the biggest mural in Mexico, and La Mariposa in Bogotá was even classified as the biggest in the world. Relying on ethnography of circulations, the paper shows how this politics of macroscale specifically shapes the way how the idea travels between cities and how is locally applied. In particular, while individual actors very often know about other cases—when aimed at achieving their various size-oriented goals—they are designedly only vaguely inspired. Thus, rather than a matter of mutation, the variability of macromurals is, to a certain extent, a result of multiple emergence. The paper argues that only by tracing these diverse partly independent trajectories of the making can one fully understand and evaluate the complex effects of macromurals on communities and cities


Vašát, P. 2023. Transforming community through painting: The emergence of macromurals in Latin America. “Resurgent Authoritarianism: The Sociology of New Entanglements of Religions, Politics, and Economies”, XX ISA World Congress of Sociology, June 25-July 1, Melbourne.


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