Germen Crew just completed what could be one of the world's largest murals in a small Mexican pueblo. The colorful mural was Commissioned by the Las Palmitas, Pachuca District municipality in the state of Sinaloa, long known for its role as the "Drug Capital of Mexico." The Nuevo Muralisimos of Mexico spent five hard months working with the community to realize this ambitious urban revitalization program. A massive public art project comprising 209 homes and over 215,000 square feet, the Macro Mural reveals a hybrid style that leans heavily on the group's graffiti background, deftly coaxing the country's most recognizable art form into the 21st century.
The impressive but still limited translation of Planisferio’s interview with the Germen Crew group suggests the people living in Palmitas weren’t necessarily sold on the project right away, so it was necessary to nurture a trusting relationship with residents, and also with the children; it was their houses that were being painted all sorts of colors, after all. The artists think of themselves as providing the Germ of an idea, but much of the design and execution was ultimately a group effort that united a friendly and vibrant community plagued by poverty and mistrust.
Palmitas itself is not at the nucleus of a drug trade that commenced when the first poppies were grown-the precise timing of which remains under some dispute according to a firsthand PBS account-but the state’s infamous Sinoloa Cartel are notorious for being ruthlessly violent. Color can paint over the disturbing legacy that has marred this community’s charming essence, and hopefully create a new reputation, a new sense of pride, and a new reason to visit.
All told, 452 families or 1808 people are said to have been touched by Germen Crew, which consists of 10 artists, and their radiant mural visible from afar. They used the highest quality paint to ensure durability and longevity and engaged the community at every juncture. It’s really something for the people to be proud of, and reactivates Mexico’s deeply-layered street culture. And of course, the government deserves serious kudos for recognizing the role that art plays in a healthy urban environment.
Images via Germen Crew