Creativity & Culture- Off the Beaten Path

In a discussion with chef Luis Valesquez, a local Honduran friend, about the artisan crafts he displays in his Gastro Gallery, he mentioned a town an hour north of Tegucigalpa that had larger-than-life street art covering its walls. I was intrigued. How could this be? I’d been here three years and never heard of this nearby museum outdoors.

Research revealed that this inspirational project in the historical town of Catarranas, founded in 1667 by Spanish rulers, stemmed from artist Javier Espinal. In 2011, he proposed to transform the city’s walls with art. With government investment from the San Juan de Flores municipality, and In collaboration with artists from Honduras, Mexico, Columbia, and Argentina, more than fifty vibrant murals depicting themes of light, peace, and the roots of Honduras were created. (Artists’ signatures are painted on their talented works).

Wanderlust propelled me to take my son out of school and go exploring. I live with perpetual fernweh: a German word meaning “a longing for unseen places.” Like a racehorse stuck at the gate, every so often, I have the desire to break away from daily life and reconnect with something bigger. A friend who home-schools her son agreed, and off we went on our field trip.

We drove the tree-lined, winding RN-25 route north of Valle de Angeles until we entered the tropical cloud forest in the mountains. Thick mist blurred the the two-lane highway until twenty minutes beyond, when the sun returned, this hidden gem called Catarranas, meaning “singing frogs,” appeared.

Walking to the main square to get our bearings, we paused to admire a few sculptures near the pretty iglesia. We were awe-struck by the innovation before us as we ambled through cobblestone streets to find a stunning trompe l’oeil painting “spilling” down the stairs. Another artist used a home’s door as a book shelf, and a narrow alley was shaded by a canopy of crayon-colored umbrellas. This town was wonderfully alive with magical details, surrealism, and movement in those brush strokes.

On the way home, we made a brief detour where my friend had taken a pottery class in San Juancito, which for a tiny village, was teeming with history. It was the site of the original American Embassy in Honduras, housed the first electrical plant in all of Central America, and was one of the country’s first gold and silver mining towns.

Adjacent to an unassuming cafe was a factory, once a soda bottling plant, that now makes pottery, handmade paper, blown glass, and woven baskets.

At the end of the day, I was buzzing from the immersion of creativity and culture. Coupled with the freedom of walking outdoors, feeling safe with our cameras, and soaking up the friendly smiles of locals, it was one of my favorite days in Honduras.

Le Vaya Bien. Go Well.

Tracy

16 thoughts on “Creativity & Culture- Off the Beaten Path

  1. Pingback: Creativity & Culture- Off the Beaten Path - Hola Honduras

  2. What a fabulous trip. I think my favorite was the picture of the coffee cup head sideways. Absolutely fabulous. I found myself in one of the pictures. Even though capital SHE/he had a goatee and a head drape, It looks just like me. Did you photograph the bird in juxtaposition to the motorcycle? It certainly says a lot. I think what they have done with the soda bottling plant is a miraculous. They have taken a falling down building and made it into something extremely special. Amazing.

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  3. WOW! I want to go there AND I wish the Greek government would agree to something similar here, where we have gravity (not the nice artistic kind) e v e r y w h e r e. I truly enjoyed travelling with you in all these colours and colourful words today. Thank you for the journey my friend. ❤️ Le Vaya Bien xox

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  4. You’ll long remember this colorful trip. I feel so grateful to be a part of it through your pictures and writing, art in themselves. Thank you for a trip I’d never have made myself. It inspires! Pat N.

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  5. What a great adventure, Tracy. Wish I could have seen this special place with you. I will share your blog with the folks in the art department at CSU. They should combine a trip to see this place with one of their study abroad trips. Susan

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