We are just north of Mexico City, in Pachuca de Soto, the capital city of the Mexican State of Hidalgo. The city boasts one of the largest murals in the world. Murals have always been an example of artwork around the world. Excluding the luxurious wall murals in Pompeiian villas, or the various streetart inside lot of abandoned places, most murals, at least the modern ones, adorn building’s exteriors and are meant for public consumption. But in few cases are the murals so big that they stretch across multiple buildings, or even multiple neighborhoods.
Sitting atop the hills that constitute most of central Pachuca are the Cubitos and Palmitas neighborhoods. They are known for their sparse public infrastructure…so sparse that the houses furthest up the hills can only be reached on foot. Both neighborhoods were proposed as the site of a collective art work spearheaded by the Mexican government’s Nos Mueve la Paz (“We Are Moved by Peace”) outreach program, to address and reduce crime rates in the area.
The artwork took 14 months to paint and was created by artists from the street art group known as Germen Crew, along with ex-gang members, many of the neighborhood’s residents and at first bringing a community spirit to a once-sketchy neighborhood. They painted nearly every wall of every building on the hillside with waves of color meant to evoke the winds that give Pachuca its nickname of La Bella Airosa, or “The Windy Beauty.” The waves fan out from one building to next, giving the two neighborhoods a continuous, flowing look.
While the jury is still out on whether the Macromural’s social initiative aspects have succeeded, the 209 colorful buildings of the neighborhood have become a touristic attraction since the mural was completed in 2015. Years on, local fortunes have changed little, but the mural remains striking. With its total painted area reaching 40,000 square meters, it is now the world’s largest mural, besting el Pueblo Levee Mural in Arkansas, “only” 16, 554.80 square meters.
The Macromural is the idealistic backdrop to the music video “Came Here for Love” (2017) by Sigala.
Author’s notes: From the city center, walk about 10 minutes to the end of Avenida Revolución then one block south behind Plaza Bella. It’s best viewed from the pedestrian bridge over Río de las Avenidas.