So Juarez has been renovating Juarez avenue with a huge number of projects designed to make the street more inviting. This has included widening sidewalks, and creating a fairly uniform look among all the buildings. A part of this program is to include a series of murals along the street leading to the international bridge. And why not? If Hollywood can have a walk of stars, Juarez can certainly have a wall of stars of its own. The first of these is dedicated to internationally famous singer Juan Gabriel, ” El Divo de Juarez” and for the past three weeks the talented artist Arturo Damasco has been swinging from an enormous crane to create a mural of Juanga, taken from a photo of the singer when he was 21, singing on this street at Noa Noa and a portrait chosen by the singer himself. It is scheduled to be unveiled this Sunday at 5 with Juan Gabriel in attendance. The singer is also offering a free concert on Saturday night at “La Plaza de Mexicanidad” aka the X sculpture among other events in which he will participate.
I’ve been an admirer of Damasco for a fair number of years now because he not only has a huge amount of artistic talent, but also an extremely fertile imagination. It has been amazing watching Damasco swinging from a huge crane using a brush which more closely resembles an elongated mop bring this portrait to life. Michelangelo lay on his back painting the Sistine Chapel, Arturo Damasco swings from a crane high up in the air.
The only question I have about all this is the choice of building. Of course, it has the advantage of being the tallest building on the block and perhaps the only one with sufficient space for a mural of what is really an enormous size, but it has the disadvantage of being a building in complete disrepair. A former hotel abandoned for a number of years it not only hosts a large number of empty broken windows, but is structurally questionable. A few months ago, an external balcony committed edificial suicide by falling to the avenue below. Fortunately no one was hurt, but it does raise questions about the state of the building and its walls In fact shortly after work was started on the mural, it had to be stopped for a bit so that the wall could be restored to take care of problems caused by humidity among other things
Perhaps there are plans to completely renovate the building which would be wonderful even if it also is probably extremely expensive. At the moment we have a wonderful mural on a building which at the moment raises little confidence and points more to the unfortunate recent past rather than the hoped for future. Aside from this of course one can only applaud the work of one artist paying tribute to another.-david sokolec