The Latin Collective Mural
The Latin Collective Mural is a public mural in Wellington that celebrates its local Latin American community.
The Latin Collective mural. Wellington 2019. Image @thelatincollective
The Latin Collective Mural is a mural that celebrates the Latin American community that has made New Zealand its home. Painted on the wall outside the Wellington City Mission, the mural uses traditional muralist aesthetics from Latin America. The mural aims to celebrate diversity, counter racism and foster a strong community. The mural includes symbols from Latin America and New Zealand – these include a tūī and a condor – that are woven together to depict the connections between them.
The Latin Collective was formed in 2017 to develop an open and decentralised space for art, music and poetry initiatives, which mostly have political and ideological components. It was inspired to develop the mural after one of its members – Marcela Palomino-Schalscha – saw a similar mural in Bordeaux, which was painted by the Chilean community in the 1970s.
To develop the mural, the Latin Collective organised workshops with around 70 Latin Americans to find out about their experiences of being immigrants. It wanted to use the mural to share their stories with Wellingtonians and give them a public artwork to enjoy. It also wanted to pay tribute to people who died in the mosque attacks in Christchurch in 2019. The people who participated in the workshops came from 12 different countries and represented all ages.
Chilean muralist Alfonso Ruiz Pajarito travelled to New Zealand to paint the mural. Alfonso was a founding member of the muralist brigade Brigada Ramona Parra. Active in Chile during Pinochet's military dictatorship, Brigada Ramona Parra members use street art to share hope and bring people together.
Wellington City Council suggested painting the mural on the wall outside the Wellington City Mission in Newtown, as Newtown is an ethnically diverse suburb that the Latin American community has a strong connection with. During the three weeks it took to create the mural, more than 100 people came along to help paint it, and enjoy batucada (traditional Brazilian samba) and food together.
The mural was launched in April 2019. It was supported by Wellington City Council, the Office of Ethnic Affairs and donations by members of the Latin American community.
Published 02 November 2023
"We wanted to celebrate the Latin American community that calls New Zealand ‘home’ and give Wellington a public artwork that everyone can enjoy."
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