In this article, the Peruvian writer and journalist Fietta Jarque describes the gradual disinterest in and deterioration of the mural that the well-known Dutch artist Karel Appel (1921–2006) painted in February 1976, at no charge, in Villa El Salvador, the largest shantytown in Lima, with the aid of local residents. This is probably the only newspaper report of the gradual disappearance of that controversial and much-praised work of art. By the early 1980s, despite the fact that it was created as a community project, the constant overlay of graffiti, vandalism, and advertising had left the mural in very bad condition. A few years later, it vanished completely when the building was steamrolled by the neighborhood’s new municipality.
The painter’s own version of this experience can be found in Karel Appel: Street Art, Ceramics, Sculpture, Wood Reliefs, Tapestries, Murals, Villa El Salvador (New York: Abbeville Press in association with Cross River Press, 1985). [See in the ICAA digital archive (102138)].
[As complementary reading on Karel Appel, see the following articles the ICAA digital archive: (unattributed) “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” (865535); by Appel “Villa El Salvador: Kerouaciana” (1052138); (unattributed) “Pobladores de Villa El Salvador pintarán murales en la calle dirigidos por el artista Appel” (865645); (unattributed) “Cosas de la Villa” (865627); by Luis Freire Sarria “La Cobra en Villa El Salvador (I)” (865607); and (unattributed) “El pueblo muralista” (865664)].