The El Paredón Lamppost Project

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There is a tradition in Central American villages for local people to paint lampposts with colourful  designs – often of local birds, flowers and scenes. They really brighten up street corners, give  a sense of identity and an interesting aesthetic to an area. Below are some I found in Juayua, El Salvador, but other good ones can be found in Santiago, by Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

Inspiration for the El Paredon project Bird-painted-Lamppost  Flower-lamppost

Before she left El Paredon, Carla (co-founder of La Choza Chula) had the idea to do the same in our village. I promised that we would make her idea happen. The project aimed to show off local creative talent in a public place and display positive environmental messages in the community, which would influence local people

THE FINISHED LAMPPOSTS

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No Tiremos Basura
We don’t throw litter
By Marvin and Julio, age 7
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Mantengamos Limpio El Canal
We Keep the Canal Clean
By Dani, aged 11
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No Matemos Las Aves
We Don’t Kill the Birds
By Delia, aged 14
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Protegemos Las Tortugas
We Protect the Turtles
By Irma, aged 8
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Protegamos Los Manglares
We Protect the Mangroves
By Elicio, aged 26
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Amamos El Paredon
We Love El Paredon
By Frances from La Choza Chula, aged 26

HOW WE DID IT

Firstly, we held a drawing competition and the most enthusiastic and talented young artists were carefully selected to paint one of six lamp posts along the main street. We talked to the local representative of CONAP, the governmental environmental agency in Guatemala, who gave us six key messages they thought most important to promote. We asked the Mayor and the town committee for permission. We then worked on different lampposts with different artists when the sun was at its lowest – getting them to respond first on paper then on the post to the message we wanted to convey. Each post is unique.

We hope to paint more  posts in the future and are interested in working with other communities to replicate the project in other areas. Get in touch if you are interested or if you would like to donate towards paint and facilitation for more posts!  Write to  juliaharriman@gmail.com

CREDITS 

Facilitators – Frances Alderson and Julia Harriman – La Choza Chula

Concept – Carla Thomas – La Choza Chula

Artists – Dani, Elicio, Irma, Julio, Marvin, Frances, Julia, Delia

Thanks to our supporters – www.paredonsurf.com for funding the project, Paco Blanco, Mayor of La Gomera, Rafa from www.surf-guatemala.com, Santos from the town committee and all the kids who helped out.

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