Note that I am not an artist. nor am I a critic. I am only a lover of Mexican murals and have walked nearly every street in the city to find them. Waylon – SMA The Fat Bastard
Three things I have learned during the Pandemic: first, I am hungry for more bite-sized adventures; second, how living in San Miguel de Allende is like living in a fish bowl where life is reflected back to us in the form of stunning murals. Third, when someone says will you come with us on the Fat Bastard Art Walk in San Miguel de Allende? – say Yes!
These art walks meander through the Colonias (neighborhoods) of San Miguel. Each Colonia has a distinctive flavor, and the purpose of the art walks started by this fellow was to simply “get out of the house and enjoy the public art that decorates the streets” of this art filled colonial city.
About thirty of us gathered at El Parian Plaza on Avenida Guadelupe near the arches, just south of Insurgentes Street. We started with an uphill climb over the cobblestones for which San Miguel is oh so incredibly famous.
Many Mexican buildings are left in an unfinished state as untidy or incomplete brick walls. In stark contrast to these peppered looked walls the murals bring refreshment for the eye and inspire wonder in the beholder. Other buildings are finished with stucco then painted a variety of colors.
Murals are painted on strategic corners, on huge blank walls and can be as small as three-square feet and as wide as two hundred feet and twenty or more feet tall. Artists come from all over Mexico and southward to create these amazing murals.
My first impression upon encountering them two years ago was that they were huge, solid and permanent. However, like life itself I have discovered that they get painted over, they are ephemeral, temporary and there to be enjoyed for only 6 – 12 months, when they are painted over or replaced.
Near Tio de Pablo’s restaurant in Colonia Mexiquito was a beautiful bright colored mural about forty feet high and thirty feet wide, only a block from our residence at the time. This mural was of muñecas de trapo, or Marias as they are fondly named around here. Dressed in hand-made native dress with ribbons in their hair, two beyond life-sized dolls this mural watched over the local Middle School. You can see that the paintings are deteriorating.
Nine months later – that wall is now orange. The entire building is orange. There is not a Maria in sight. A nearby wall hosts an effective display of scary super-heros of all types.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a bit of a local heroine around here. We found her featured on street corners, in formal shrines, and on people’s private houses.
Many of the murals told stories of Mexican cultural and religious heroes, local Mexican cultural icons like Katrinas, Cougars, Aztec Gods, Snakes, cactus and corn.
The final piece de resistance was a 15′ x 25′ mural by a group of several female painters that was done for the Pur Ellas Pur Todas Direcction de Cultura y Tradiciones 2021 which is the International Women’s mural done for that specific celebration.