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    El pueblo muralista
    El Comercio : Suplemento dominical (Lima, Perú). -- Feb. 29, 1976
    Newspaper article – Essays
    El Comercio: Suplemento dominical (Lima, Perú). "El pueblo muralista." February 29, 1976.

This article is a brief account on the participation of the inhabitants of Villa El Salvador—the largest “young town” (slum) in Lima—and their creation of a mural under the guidance and direction of Dutch artist Karel Appel. Coincidentally, the account does not mention him. Documented in the account are statements given by two Andean immigrants whom despite their poverty and employment problems participated in the graphic project “contributing, in some way, so that this young town does not become simply a group of marginalized people but rather a participatory community.” One of the results of the project was “the understanding that not only in Lopez Antay’s wood-carved altarpieces could art be found, as some officials would say.” At the core of popular culture there is an apparent demand for “modern” trends in light of the preeminence of the more traditional values, made possible through recognitions such as the Premio Nacional de Cultura which had been awarded to López Antay towards the end of 1975.


This is the only known publication that recorded the experiences of the inhabitants of Villa El Salvador and the active participants of the mural created by Karel Appel. The “populist” bias taken in the article was so significant that it even avoided mentioning the Dutch artist in order to accentuate the support of the local participants, who were described as having “Andean accents with protruding cheekbones, the demonstrative profile of a heroic race.” Villa El Salvador was founded as a self-managing community and for many years became emblematic of a populist leftist culture.

[For further reading, please refer to the ICAA digital archive for the following texts: [“El retablo es ‘Folclor Dadá’ y es arte, opinó plástico holandés Karel Appel: ‘lo que vio en la Escuela de Artes Plásticas no era arte’, dijo…”] (without author) (doc. no. 865535); “Pintores peruanos continuarán labor del artista Karel Appel” by Felipe Adrianzén (doc. no. 865553); and “Villa El Salvador: Kerouaciana” by Karel Appel himself (doc. no. 1052138)].

Daniel Contreras Medina
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru