Artists try to change image of violent Caracas slum

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 22, 2019 - Duration: 01:59s

Artists try to change image of violent Caracas slum

In the sprawling slum of Petare in Venezuela's capital of Caracas, a team of artists and residents led by Fabian Solymar are painting abstract murals covering up walls filled with Socialist Party political propaganda.

Havovi Cooper reports.


Artists try to change image of violent Caracas slum

Armed with a spray paint can - 31-year old Venezuelan artist- Fabian Solymar is hard at work... ...the slum of Petare in Caracas serving as his canvas.

As one of Latin America's largest slums - Petare is better known for crime and gang rivalries - with a murder rate double that of Venezuela as a whole - which is already at record levels.

But Solymar is trying to change that violent image of Petare - one mural at a time... (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ARTIST, FABIAN SOLYMAR, SAYING: "The idea is for people to feel that this is not a place of delinquents, but of people who work, there are engineers, there are architects, there is a bit of everything.

I have come across all types of professions and there is this misconception that all neighbourhoods are dangerous but it is not true." Solymar and a team of Venezuelan artists have so far painted 9 murals across the hillsides of Petare... And now locals are noticing how the art is changing their neighborhood.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) PETARE RESIDENT ,KATIUSKA CAMARGO, SAYING: "The connect between art and the people is amazing, because in spaces where there was trash now there is art.

And in places where there is still a bit of trash, we remove it, the artist arrives, does his work and creates magic." The artists are also trying to send a political message...by keeping politics out of sight.

They are seeking to paint over walls filled with socialist party propaganda... This mural- for instance- will eventually cover up a campaign ad for a state governor and an image of the eyes of late President Hugo Chavez.

The ruling party's symbols are scattered across public spaces in Caracas- but as a majority of Venezuelans blame President Nicolas Maduro for an economic crisis that has made life unbearable -Solymar's murals aim to brush off the icons of the past... and paint a new vision for the future.

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