an appeal for Unity

Vida Buena

by Amy Gross
Photograph by Sergio Salvador

guest artist Curiot Tlalpazotl creates a temporary mural for 516 ARTS

On January 27, Mexico City painter and street artist Curiot Tlalpazotl unveiled a temporary interior mural he created at the invitation of nonprofit contemporary art space and museum 516 ARTS, located in downtown Albuquerque. Over 1,000 individuals attended the opening of Unity, which was painted in conjunction with 516 ARTS’ exhibition The US-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility. Both the exhibition and the mural will be available to view until April 14. Signed, limited edition prints of the Unity mural are available for $100 through 516 ARTS.

Tlalpazotl has painted murals around the world—Germany, France, Spain, and Mexico, among other countries. “Curiot’s murals take on a life of their own,” says 516 ARTS Curator Josie Lopez. “They convey a cultural and spiritual identity that is both beautiful and fierce while communicating a sense of global interconnectedness between the human and natural worlds.”

The artist came to Albuquerque directly from a two-month visit to India, where he says he was inspired by the colors, patterns, and spirituality of that culture. Indeed, Unity is a mandala that Tlalpazotl says is about “the connection of all cultures on the planet, remembering where we come from.” Located in the 25-foot-tall entrance to 516 ARTS, it showcases the artist’s trademark use of vibrant colors, flora, fauna, and human figures, as well as a filigree of metallic patterns.

“The reaction to the mural has been great,” says 516 ARTS Executive Director Suzanne Sbarge. “People watched it progress on social media and peeked through our windows while the artist was working, so there was an excitement that built up to the unveiling at the opening. I find mural projects are a really good way to engage the general public in contemporary art. They attract an intergenerational audience and generate interest in the rest of the exhibition and the related programs.”