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This is a brief newspaper article written on the Festival Contacta 72 immediately after it closed. The text highlights the massive attendance of the event due to its artistic theme of “placing the man on the street directly in contact with the world of contemporary art.” Both the artists and the promoters of Festival Contacta 72—Francisco Mariotti, Luis Arias Vera and Luis Zevallos— express amazement on the success of their experimental project.
The Festival Contacta 72 opened on Wednesday, July 26, 1972 at the Parque de la Reserva in Lima and was the first attempt made by the regime led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado (1968–1975) to bring art and its varied manifestations to the masses. The five-day event attracted about two hundred and fifty thousand visitors, who came to see the works exhibited by the Peruvian-Swiss artist Francisco Mariotti, and the painters Luis Arias Vera and Luis Zevallos. The first festival was staged at the IAC (Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo) when the director of the institute, historian and art critic Alfonso Castrillón (b. 1935), invited Mariotti to show his work there. Mariotti then suggested creating the Contacta–Festival de Arte Total, which launched a multidisciplinary group effort to make art available to the general public. As a result of the huge success of that event, and Mariotti’s inclusion in SINAMOS (Sistema Nacional de Apoyo a la Movilización Social), the second festival was wholly funded by the Peruvian government. Mariotti would similarly produce the Encuentro Nacional Inkari, an event that took place in 1973, and towards 1980 he became the promoter of the mythical collective E.P.S. Huayco. [Please refer to the ICAA digital archive for the following texts on the multidisciplinary events organized by SINAMOS such as Contacta 72: “Arte libertario” (doc. no. 1138949), “SINAMOS Contacta 72: a los artistas y artesanos del Perú” (without author) (doc. no. 1138964), and “Contacta 72 será una experiencia de significación” (doc. no. 1138979); about Inkari (1973): “Reintegración. Inkari: un reencuentro esperado” (without author) (doc. no. 1139039); and about ORAMS IX (1975): “Arte y Pueblo” (without author) (doc. no. 1139024)].