Basharat Bashir

Mural art

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Murals are crucial in bringing art to the public and make people more aware of art.  This form of art plays a vital role in communicating any social or political message.  The size of the mural which is usually large is another factor that makes this form of art more effective than paintings on the canvas. Murals require a significant amount of time and money and most muralists depend on sponsors to fund the project.

The history of Mural painting dates back to upper Paleolithic times and muralists have used different techniques to execute a mural.  During the middle Ages murals were usually executed on dry plaster (secco). The huge collection of Kerala mural painting dating from the 14th century are examples of fresco secco. In 13th century Italy, the technique of painting of frescos on wet plaster was reintroduced and led to a significant increase in the quality of mural painting.

The best-known style of mural painting is Fresco, but there are many methods and techniques as we see in ‘Mexican Muralism’  an art movement  that began in Mexico pioneered by three eminent artists Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco.

 Mexican Muralism

Mexican Muralism was a movement that began in early 1920s in Mexico in which the government commissioned artists to make art that would educate Mexicans about the country’s history and present a powerful vision of its future. The movement was an effort to reunify the country under the post-Mexican Revolution government. From the 1920s to about 1970s many murals with nationalistic, social and political messages were created on public buildings, starting a tradition which continues to this day in Mexico and has had impact in other parts of the America, including the United States, where it served as inspiration for the Chicano art movement.

Inspired by the idealism of the Revolution, artists created epic, politically charged public murals that stressed Mexico’s pre-colonial history and culture and that depicted peasants, workers, and people of mixed Indian-European heritage as the heroes who would forge its future. The movement was strongest from the 1920s to the 1950s, which corresponded to the country’s transformation from a mostly rural and mostly illiterate society to an industrialized one. While today they are part of Mexico’s identity, at that time they were controversial, especially those with socialist messages plastered on centuries-old colonial buildings.

The murals were executed in techniques including fresco, encaustic, mosaic, and relief. The movement was headed by three famous painters, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Mural vs Graffiti

Although murals were executed mostly in fresco, encaustic, mosaic, and relief technique but modern muralists have extensively used Acrylic paint, oil paints and even graffiti cans to execute their murals. As there is no major difference between Mural and Graffiti as far as material and technique is concerned and both have same motive which is to  express artists own perspective. The major difference lies in the process of painting. Murals are mostly sponsored projects with proper permission and therefore artists are free to give as much time as they wish to express each and every detail, while as in graffiti which  is usually  illegal, and tends to convey critical social and political issues mostly executed without any permission, artists are forced to complete the painting as quickly as possible.  Graffiti artists have to summon up their theme in minimum phrases and imagery to be executed quickly without being caught.

Murals which are mostly done with proper permission and artists enjoy all the time in the world to complete their work without any fear of being caught or persecuted lacks complete freedom for artists. Unlike Graffiti artists muralists cannot paint everything they wish. They are bound to share their theme with authorities or the sponsors before they actually execute their art work. As muralists enjoy the freedom of time and expenses Graffiti artists enjoy complete freedom in deciding how and what to paint.

Although the identity of graffiti artists mostly remains unconfirmed but Like murals graffiti also became contemporary art movement, and there are many Graffiti artists whose work is being printed or recreated on canvases and sold at high price.

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