Art in the streets of Comalapa

An artist has the ability, and the gift, to create art out of even the simplest of things; and the large number of artists from San Juan Comalapa – at about 35 kilometres north from La Antigua – are no exception. It is thanks to its talented artists and the overflow of imagination and beauty that they have managed to portray in canvases, as varied as they are vibrant, that the municipality is known as “The Florence of America”.
Recently, these artists have been able to find, through their own management, and the will of many others, the opportunity for the municipality to stand out once again thanks to the creativity, ingenuity and talent of its artists.
With the support of the Comité de Autogestión Turística (CAT) – led by Oswaldo Perén and Herminio Otzoy García – street light posts have been used as canvases for the local talent to use as a mean of expression. Along 0 Avenida, young artists have shown their love for their people – through current themes and historical elements – they have created true works of art.
Achieving this has taken time, effort and different negotiations with the relevant institutions, like the municipal authorities, who gave up the street posts and committed themselves to applying the relevant sanctions (through a municipal agreement) to all those who disrespect the work that has been done. In this way, it is also intended to help avoid visual pollution created by excessive political or commercial advertisements to which all Guatemalans seem to be accustomed.
The support of the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT) consisted of donating the necessary raw materials to be able to paint the poles. Behind the scenes, the creators of these works of art, who have given their time, effort and art for each one of the posts, discreetly manifest the illusion and love with which they dedicated each of their works. The idea that their works can be appreciated by locals and foreigners (national and international) has filled them with emotion.

Being able to appreciate the delivery with which the project has delivered, has left the inhabitants with great satisfaction, who say that it is a positive reminder, even with the daily conflicts and the problems that the country has, this is evidence that there are people with the will and the positive attitude that is so needed in this battered country.
Pride and emotion is visible on the face of Mrs. Imelda Colaj and her nephew David Colaj – who at age 13 is learning from art of his aunt. They painted the scene they designated for their third post. Imelda is an artist (one of the few female artists in the village) who tries to open spaces within her paintings of the world for 15 years.A block later, Mrs. Paula Nicho and her daughter Roselia Urelia Cumez Nicho, give the last touches to her canvas on stone. Roselia decided to dedicate herself to painting thanks to the admiration she feels for her mother.
Is it possible that the art in Comalapa is carried in the veins? You have to go find out for yourself.
The invitation is given so that you visit the municipality and, you will surely be received with the warmness of Comalapa. If you want to know the painters responsible for this wonderful work, you only have to ask for Imela Colaj, David Colaj, Paula Nicho, Roselia Uriela Cumez Nicho, Filiberto Chalí, Isidro Perén, Oscar Perén, Julian Sotz, Victor Serech, Lorenzo Simón, Erwin Icú Quiná, Juan Sotz, Fabio Chalí Chacach, Alex Serech, Oswaldo Perén, Carlos Serech, Axel Perén, Julio Chirix and Tony Perén.

Written by: Hilda Son

Translated by: Melissa Schroden

photos by: Hilda Son

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