Open-air Gallery: Large murals painted around PUCRS Campus

With an educational purpose, initiative will have an interactive website on the graffiti paintings

04/12/2020 - 13h34

Artist Renan Santos (right) and his art in building 8 / Photo: Camila Cunha

More colors, graphics, meanings, stories and culture on the Main Campus of PUCRS. The people that come and go to the University will have the chance to enjoy two new large-scale wall murals, authored by the artists Renan Santos and Paula Plim. Developed by the Institute of Culture of PUCRS, the project Galeria a Céu Aberto kicked off with the artists’ work Kelvin Koubik, which was finished in late March 2019. Back then, this design was inspired by the mission of the University and the Science and Technology Museum (MCT), located on the east side of Building 6, right across from Rua da Cultura.  

The project Open-air Gallery (Galeria a Céu Aberto) will add labels in each of the three murals with information in Braille, as well as QRCodes, which will redirect users to its website, yet to be launched. The idea is to serve as a learning tool equipped with information about the murals, descriptions of the images, information about the artists, videos of creative processes and details of how the arts around Campus were built.  

Inspiration from classic and contemporary humanism  

Being as large as 304 m2, Renan Santos’ work has been painted on one of the walls of Building 8, at the School of Humanities. “I’ve always liked small-scale work, making small drawings using magnifying glasses to work on finishing touches has always been fun for me. But nowadays, I find much more satisfaction in large-scale works, in going out to work on street walls, which have been very rewarding ”, the artist points out.  

On the left side of the mural, a hare represents classic humanism. The graphics make reference to Italian Renaissance artists, such as Michelângelo and Botticcelli, as well as Alice in Wonderland. The painting resembles the body’s position in the sculpture “The Thinker”, by the French artist Auguste Rodin; as well as a pile of books making reference to Aesop, Dante Alighieri, Charles Baudelaire and Fiodor Dostoievski.  

On the right side, the heron constitutes contemporary humanism. The references are: the Egyptian God Thoth (represented by a bird, which symbolizes writing and knowledge); the heron’s clothes, which are allusive to the three Graces of Sandro Botticelli; and the bare feet, which represent lightness and high flight. In one of the arms of painting we can see books mentioning contemporary writers Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and Clarice Lispector, who would have turned 100 years old in 2020.  

References of Pre-Columbian culture   

Next to the main stage of Rua da Cultura, artist Paula Plim painted her 64 m2graffiti on Building 5. Considering the vast and diverse culture of Latin America and the impossibility of addressing all the existing cultures in the region, Paula chose to focus on a single outstanding culture.   

“I chose the Incas, because they divide the world into three: the superior one, which communicates to the earthly world through the Andean condor; the terrestrial, which is mediated by the puma, and the inferior, which communicates through the serpent. So, I chose the corresponding animals to work on these three levels. They worshipped nature, and also had the God of the Mountain and a God or Goddess of the Corn, elements of nature that were considered gods”, Paula explains.  

Some of the symbols on the mural include the most important God Viracocha, the Sun (important for plantations), the rain (necessary for crops), the rainbow (unification of the Sun and rain for good harvests), the condor (communication with the stars) and the quipos (counting system very present in Inca culture).  

As the paintings are around the stage on Rua da Culturaboth a flute and kero (ceremonial Andean glasses) have been added. There are also representations of deities, such as Mama Killa, protector of women and fertility.