190 Rupert Avenue
'Cartography for New Cosmopolitans'
Alberto Morachis and Guadalupe Serrano's winning design for Mural Fest 2K6. This vinyl Mural was rendered by Yonke with sponsorship by Graffiti Art Programming. The Mural was removed in March 2016 due to expansion construction of the Museum.
Original notes follow:
On March 21, 2006, Alberto Morachis and Guadalupe Serrano from Nogales, Mexico,
submitted this one page description in support of their piece, Cartography for New
Cosmopolitans, their submission to the Mural Fest 2K6 competition:
"In this new century millions mobilize all days, interchanging ways of life, language,
culture; and its own blood, in this way we title and describe this proposal for the Festival.
The migration and mix of culture are part of the human history, sometimes epic, mythic
and heroic, and with a large drama, so we design a big map, for any place, no place in
particular like a background for this vision."
"For those who sleep at bus terminals or airports; those who run from poverty and look
for justice, for the need of shelter; for those who carry digital cameras and maps of a city;
for those who climb mountains and walk through deserts; for the ones that left family
behind, and carry inside their backpacks the smell of their countryside, the colours of the
hand crafts, and the recipes of their moms."
"For the ones who carry a guitar, or drums, or hopes. For those who are going to find
true love. For those that are running away from themselves, for those who don't want to
work anymore, to the ones that want to start a business far away. For those who speak
Spanish or Kurdish, Rumanian or Swahili, English or Esperanto, and get lost."
"For those who cross cities, countries, oceans, for those who jump fences, walls and seas,
for those who have visas, and those who don't have it yet."
"For those who leave small towns and help to build nations, for those that travel by foot,
in trains, trailers, small boats and airplanes."
"For those who go to jungles before they disappear, or go to learn about castles,
pyramids, temples, mosques, synagogues, churches, and skyscrapers. For the ones who
like virtual travels."
"For those that dream to travel through the light, to deep ocean, and inside of volcanos."
"For the ones that don't fear to learn a second language, even for the gatekeepers, the
border guardians, and those that march to a side or inside armies."
"And more for those who fell in the trip; for the ones that remain in the dream, in the
mirage, and in our memories."
Additional Commentary from my interview with Alberto & Guadalupe:
Alberto Morachis: "We started with the idea of a map. In our city, which is on the
border, all the time people will ask about directions. There's a human rights group in
Arizona who made a map of Arizona, because a lot of people who cross the border
illegally get lost and die in the desert- 200 people a year. And in our city a lot of people
come from South America and other parts of Mexico and they ask for directions. With
that map we started to think of how people move in the world- how towns and nations get
built. And how people move about and move away from one place to another. Not only
people who move to find a better life, but people who travel. Regardless, people in these
situations need a map for directions. It's not easy to immigrate. We included the flow of
people in the centre."
Guadalupe Serrano (translated by Alberto): "We have been working together for 10
years. In the beginning what we were doing was mixing and combining our separate
styles. But in the process of 10 years what we have accomplished is to work in a united
style for the piece. It's a mix of our two styles with a result that it doesn't look like the
work of two separate artists."
Alberto: "In 10 years of doing public art, we know that when you are painting, people are
going to be seeing. When we were working here, we come at 6 o'clock in the morning,
and we would start to paint. Then from Chinatown people would start to come; old ladies
and old men would come to do tai chi and exercise. I can assure you that they saw all the
process. When we were finished, the Chinese ladies were giving us this (the thumbs up
sign). So the Chinese ladies are our fans here in Winnipeg!"
"In my experience, it's not easy to convince a lot of artists to do public art- they would
rather work inside in a studio. We work with the government. In Mexico it is the
obligation of the government to support and invest in artists and culture, by law, in the
"Before we came here to Winnipeg, we practiced with ink on vinyl. We found this ink
thicker than the others we tried and a bit more difficult. It's similar to some enamels
we've used back home. It's good for us though, because when we get back we are going
to recommend using this ink and vinyl for an upcoming project. In Mexico there aren't
too many regulations about paint, and it has a much stronger smell and fumes than here.
We saw many things that the artists do here that I think is good. The Bears on
Broadway- with an idea like that you can do a lot of things. The art displays at the Forks
Skateboard Park- we have a lot of young people and we are going to propose a contest to
them to paint their skateboards. We are going to ask our city to make a project like the
Bears- we have a nut that is the symbol of our city; and our state animal is the white-
"This has been a great experience for us. Today we were talking to Tom Andrich about
materials. We've also talked a lot about that with Charlie Johnston and with Anders
Swanson, too. In this kind of setting, the artists take advantage of the situation to
Guadalupe: "It's also been good in the sense that we are trying to get more involved with
young artists that aren't so experienced. In our city we can give our ideas and
experiences to new artists so that they may learn. The life of an artist is a project of life.
If you really want to be an artist you must feel that you will die being an artist. The other
thing is that we must promote, to work too with artists in this field like Charlie Johnston,
because they work in another environment."
Alberto: "It is a process. Before Guadalupe worked in art full time he worked in a
factory for 11 years. But in his free time he was painting with Murals. And when you've
built up your work, projects and projects; and walls bring more walls. In the future
you're going to be able to tip the scales and have the knowledge to help promote your art
to be a full time artist. We did not only learn how to paint and how to make Murals- but
we learned how to promote ourselves. Nobody is going to help you. You must push
"Art and culture are not only what makes a city come alive- they are a resource- to
promote the city, to make identity, to shape the image of the city, to grow the quality of
life of its citizens- with art. We think that cities must change the way they plan their city
to make them more alive. Art can do that."
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