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Group works to create digital library of street art in Uruguay

StreetArt.uy project manager Manuel Rivoir poses on March 5, 2019, in front of a street mural painted on one of the walls of the old women's prison in Montevideo, Uruguay. EPA-EFE/Sarah Yañez-Richards

StreetArt.uy project manager Manuel Rivoir poses on March 5, 2019, in front of a street mural painted on one of the walls of the old women’s prison in Montevideo, Uruguay. EPA-EFE/Sarah Yañez-Richards

EFE

StreetArt.uy is working to create a “virtual library” of street art in Uruguay, hoping to promote and preserve urban murals and sculptures in the South American nation.

The website, which was listed as an online resource of interest to tourists by the government, currently provides an interactive map showing the locations of about 500 murals and former murals.

“For us, urban art is a living heritage, but because it’s also part of our identity, of our daily narrative, it’s part of our memory,” Manuel Rivoir, who is in charge of cultural affairs and management for the project, told EFE.

The website identifies the locations of graffiti murals and urban sculptures, and it provides the names of the artists who created the works, Rivoir said.

The project’s goal is “the diffusion and promotion of urban artists, so their art can be appreciated, to understand that it’s a work (of art) and to connect them with future clients,” Rivoir said while standing near a wall covered with colorful murals at the location of an closed women’s prison.

Both domestic and foreign artists have painted on walls in Uruguay, the urban art expert said.

“From Spain, we have David de la Mano, who has been based in Uruguay for many years and has a very specific style, because he paints in black and white, and is linked more to art showing supernatural beings,” Rivoir said, adding that the European artist paints “where art (usually) doesn’t go,” referring to the poor areas where his murals go up.

Although the majority of the locations on the online map are in Montevideo, the southernmost capital in South America, other areas are also included.

“In the 1990s, the museum cities, (like) San Gregorio de Polanco, in Tacuarembo, in the middle of Uruguay, emerged. It’s a very small city on the banks of a river that decided to bring together many artists and sculptors, and they started painting murals outdoors,” Rivoir said.

Mercedes and Rosario, both located in the southwest, and the resort city of Punta del Este, in the southeast, stand out for their street art, the urban art expert said.

The small town of 25 de Agosto, home to just 450 people, has nearly 80 street murals, Rivoir said.


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