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The Unifying Art of Graffiti in Callao
Graffiti and some of Peru’s most cutting-edge artists are transforming its urban-scape to reveal a side of Callao that rejects violence and hate.
Callao, Peru’s chief seaport is an independent province but more popularly considered a suburb of Lima.
Callao is home to a number of historical sites. But poverty and therefore crime have long taken over that. But in the midst of all that, there is music and art in the hearts of the people here and they have a great respect for Salsa music and its giants.
Alexis Villanueva Puente, also known as ”Salsa”, started painting portraits of artists of salsa music and dance, in 1996. Obviously, Callao immediately welcomed his art. Decrepit walls take on new meaning for the people here; now it has the faces of their favorite salseros who represent their favorite music and the positive messages in their songs.
Today “Salsa” has moved on from famous music portraits and instead focuses on victims of urban conflict in Callao. This work is a part of a project called Monumental Callao – an urban art project and organization that is now transforming the walls and buildings of the area with art and graffiti. Some of the most avant-garde artists are a part of this project.
People are mixed about what to call it, graffiti, urban art, murals… but call it what you may, all these efforts have been successful in revealing a different side of Callao, one that is rejecting violence and hate.