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Mexpert's Blog

Travel news and information on Mexico from Mexico.

Mural painting of Luis Alfonso Cruz Vazquez Abreu by artist Akut at Campeche's Best Western Hotel del Mar

If love can be infectious, then you’re sure to catch it in Campeche, where it has been actively spreading since 2010 through a series of large-scale street art projects. The piece you’re most likely to come across first, since it embellishes an entire wall of the centrally-located Best Western Hotel del Mar, overlooking the malecon, is a stunning three-story mural of an irrepressibly cheery Luis Alfonso Cruz Vazquez Abreu.

Who? Though not famous in the conventional sense of the word, the rail-thin Cruz is a familiar face to locals and has been for years, long before he was immortalized in painting. Spend any time at all in the historic center and you’re bound to see him – a twinkle in his eye, his hair wildly disheveled, and with the uncertain gait of the homeless – amiably offering to help a housewife with the groceries, a bellboy with luggage or a shopkeeper with a delivery. He’s better known as “El Paisa,” or paisano, the guy that’s always hanging around Calle 59, his preferred stomping ground, with usually a street dog or two in tow. He’s omnipresent, marginalized and, thanks to the mural, a recognized, hailed even, member of the community.

Painted by German graffiti-style artist Akut, Cruz’s mural is one of a handful in Campeche that pay homage to the everyman as part of an international art initiative called “Seres Queridos,” or Loved Ones. The project is designed to foster a greater sense of connection between people and their environment through art, and is spearheaded by the cultural organizations NOBULO (Spain) and ARTO – Art Beyond Museums (Mexico). First launched in Mexico, project Loved Ones spread to Paris in 2011.


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