The Ministry of Culture has announced a national mural contest after the ministry’s director, Diana Álvarez – Calderón, commented that the erasing of murals in downtown Lima was “marginal.”
On March 13th Luis Castañeda, the mayor of Lima, sited a UNESCO ordinance to paint over all the murals of downtown Lima. The pieces was ordered by his predecessor and political rival Susana Villarán for an art festival. Most public reaction was negative, especially from the artist community that decried such a blatant destruction of public art. UNESCO responded to the incident by clarifying that the1996 ordinance cited by Mayor Castañeda gave no instruction to paint-over murals on architecture designated as cultural heritage.
The Ministry of Culture’s response to the incident, however, was minimal and many criticized the institute which supposedly “supports and promotes artistic works of art.” In response to the backlash, the Ministry of Culture has decided to take a positive action in response to the mayors destructive rampage.
On April 16th the Ministry announced the new mural contest with the theme of “A diverse Peru in an interconnected world” and invited artists from across the country to participate by submitting ideas. Submissions will be judged and one selected to be realized. The space provided for the new mural will be a wall on the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OEI), located in Lince on block 1 of Calle Emilio de Althaus. The total dimensions of the mural will be 38 square meters, a size similar to many of the murals erased in March.
Proposals can be submitted to the Ministry of Culture until May 13th, after which a jury will select three finalists. The public will be allowed to vote for a winner from May 14th to May 20th. The winner will receive a S/.5,000 cash prize, all the materials and funding needed to execute the project, and a video by Web Channel of the Directorate of Arts documenting the creation of the mural.
The Ministry of Culture is not the only one to react against the mayor’s destruction of the public murals in March. The artist community has announced other mural contests in protest, and ARTLIMA removed the Municipality of Lima as a sponsor for a large festival.