GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Around 100 inhabitants of a crime-ridden neighborhood of this metropolis in western Mexico have painted murals as a plea for greater security for their families.
The locals are using the walls to request an end to the incessant robberies, murders and street-gang brawls in their area, one of the project's organizers, Rosalio Lopez Casanova, told Efe.
"There have even been murders here, and we see this project as a peaceful way for local residents to say we've had enough," he said.
There have even been murders here, and we see this project as a peaceful way for local residents to say we've had enough.
- Rosalio Lopez Casanova
Armed with paintbrushes and paint cans, children and adults in the Los Colorines housing development took to the streets and began daubing colors on the walls of their buildings to express their yearning for peace.
Adolfo Nava Bustos, a member of the neighborhood's security committee, said that besides giving people a way to express themselves, painting murals is also a way for them to take back the streets, so often the scene of gang fights and drug trafficking.
"Having a more orderly space and with elements of art as well makes people feel safer and they actually want to go outdoors into the streets - it creates a healthier atmosphere," he said.
Multicolored lines representing a snake stretching around homes in much of the neighborhood, and the image of a woman mourning with red handprints around her, are some of the creations covering close to 700 square meters (7,500 square feet) of wall space.
In a second phase of the project, fences will be decorated with fragments of poems, with slogans calling for peace and with the lyrics of songs composed by young people of the neighborhood.
The project is aided by two artists, who advise the locals on how to paint their murals, and by the Guadalajara municipal government, which donates the paint.
Nava said that the community is made up of some 500 families. It is located in a poor area of the city and has suffered increasing crime and violence.