During the last week of May, Avio Aero's volunteers joined up with civic volunteers and residents of the municipality of Rivalta to paint a mural on a wall measuring 15 metres in height in the Tetti Francesi district, a stone's throw from our headquarters. The wall encloses a nursery, primary and middle school complex.
The typical Chilean-style mural tells an urban tale of the birth and transformation of this district. It's a story of work and immigration, but also of integration and vision for the future. The project lasted a total of 4 days and was led entirely by the Chilean artist Eduardo “Mono” Carrasco, who took over a hall in Rivalta to instruct our volunteers in the style and execution of the work. As well as giving them the opportunity to take part in a work of art, he also gave them fresh insights into the fascinating world of South American mural painting.
Mono is from the Chilean city of Santiago: he developed his passion for the popular collective art of mural painting in the mid-1960s, and has been pursuing it ever since. Over the years he has painted hundreds of murals in Italy and the rest of Europe, with the help of groups of adults and children. His murals appear in the squares, city walls, theatres, schools and gyms of towns everywhere, large and small, and their myriad colours send out a message of peace, hope, cohesion, urban improvement and plain joy.
As well as being the author of three books, Mono has curated numerous thematic exhibitions and undertaken projects for major events such as trade fairs and multimedia exhibitions. In July 2004, the Chilean Embassy in Rome awarded him the Pablo Neruda medal. We met him on behalf of the readers of about, and asked him a few questions about his art and his experience with our volunteers.<br>
When you started drawing as a child, did you ever imagine it might become a passion and a vocation that would stay with you for the rest of your life?
No, not all. But I've loved drawing since early childhood, and once when I drew a picture on a piece of paper, a family friend, who was a graphic designer and illustrator, told my mother that if I worked at it I could be good.
How would you define the style and technique of your art?
I don't really know if it has a style. Mainly it's about the collective input of lots of people, from design to execution, and the roles and tasks are shared out interchangeably. At the end of the day, any merit belongs to everyone who took part.
How widespread is this type of art in Italy, and what aspects of Italian art and culture appeal to you most?
Mural painting, in the sense of collective art, is pretty rare in Italy and the rest of Europe. People who paint on walls here often do it on their own, and sometimes the works themselves are just signatures. I have no doubt that there are some true “artists” among them, but what they do is light-years from the concept of “collective art”. What appeals to me about Italian culture is everything that constitutes art in the broadest sense! From small monuments to major buildings, in tiny villages and big cities, nothing can fail to impress anyone who, like me, comes from a different culture. Sadly, we don't value what we've got and what we can offer visitors, and works dating back over a thousand years are often left abandoned, exposed to the weather and lacking the care that heritage of this type warrants.
You've taken part in lots of public initiatives and works commissioned for events of various types. Is this the first time you have worked with a company from the aviation industry?
Absolutely, and it was an amazing experience. Not just from an artistic point of view, but in human terms too, because of the sense of unity between the people from Avio Aero and the residents of Rivalta. The municipal council and the board of culture made sure that the whole experience had that little extra touch that makes all the difference in large and small projects alike. And the company's representatives played a vital role too. It's no coincidence that the wall painting features a paper plane, which in one way represents your work, but also conveys the idea of play and the memory that we were all children once. Right from the first day, the motto became “Vamos que se puede!”
What does it mean to you to collaborate with a company on a project, and what did you find out about the people from Avio Aero?
This was the first time I had ever worked with a company with the active involvement of its employees, and to tell you the truth I was struck by how helpful Avio Aero were and by their willingness to let us use their offices for the first meeting, and to buy all the materials we needed to create the work.
Before this experience I knew nothing about Avio Aero and its staff, but between drawings and brush-strokes we all had a chance to chat. Some people talked about their working life, others about their personal experiences, but I think we all built up a friendship and a bond rooted in cooperation between individuals on a practical, achievable project.
The mural you did with Avio Aero's volunteers reflects the style and tradition of your artwork. What was it like directing our volunteers? Were they any good?
The work we produced with the Avio Aero volunteers and residents of Rivalta is an exact reflection of the style and tradition of the collective art that I am proud of. What was it like “directing” the volunteers? Right from the first meeting, when I had to explain the basic techniques, the spirit of cooperation and participation played a vital role. The volunteers immediately realised that their input and everybody else's would lie at the heart of the end result. During the course of work you notice that some people are more talented than others, but that's always the way... If we ever get to do another work together, I'll find myself working with experts... and that's saying something.
You created the design on the basis of a brainstorming session with Avio Aero's volunteers. It contains allusions to industry, childhood, education, work, flight and ethnics. What do you think are its key messages?
From an artistic point of view, the work we created with Avio Aero's volunteers and the residents of Rivalta encapsulates the world we live in and the joy of children, and expresses the fantastic idea of being able to fly away to a better world. But at the end of the day, everyone who looks at the painting will make their own interpretation. And here's a little story: one evening, as the day's work was coming to an end, an elderly lady came up to me with tears in her eyes, and said: “You've made this place different and more beautiful with all these colours and drawings.”
Is there anything you'd like to say to our colleagues or about their artwork?
You were amazing... Pintaremos hasta el cielo!