Lima's mayor confesses to cover-up of downtown murals
By Mitra Taj
LIMA (Reuters) - First a mural in downtown Lima that depicted indigenous Peruvian revolutionary Tupac Katari was painted over. Then one of a boy stacking bricks on top of books suffered the same fate.
Lima's arts community was incensed. And suspicious: The yellow paint covering the works evoked the hallmark color of the new mayor's political party.
On Wednesday, after a third mural turned yellow, Mayor Luis Castaneda confirmed his government was behind the effort, literally covering up the traces of a predecessor who had welcomed the pieces.
"They don't go with the historic center," Castaneda said in a televised news briefing on Wednesday, shrugging off criticism.
The now-deleted murals were painted in Lima's gritty downtown district during the 2011-2014 term of former Mayor Susana Villaran, Castaneda's archrival, whose government helped secure permits.
The dispute has touched a nerve in Lima, where an emerging arts scene often struggles for space as rents rise in the fast-growing city of 10 million.
Castaneda, a conservative and populist leader, said erasing the artwork was merely part of his government's bid to revamp the historic center.
But that plan might now backfire, said 36-year-old designer and arts advocate Elliot Urcuhuaranga. Continued...