Remo Chiapello: artists embellish the highways in Argentina

 For millions of daily commuters in cities like Los Angeles who invest hours every day to go from home to work and back, the trips are tedious and exhausting. The slow, bumper to bumper ride, with thousands of cars blocking freeway exits, entrances or connections creates anxiety and stress.
The freeways’ landscapes don’t help to make these trips more enjoyable, less stressful: big gray walls, advertising billboards, trash and pollution.
Artist Remo Chiapello paints a column at the Viaduct of Resistencia. / Facebook Remo Chiapello
What could help to make these trips more enjoyable? Certainly, some colors and fresh designs!
“The project originated after local painter Milo Lockett painted the walls of the overpass,” explained local painter and sculptor Carlos Enrique ‘Remo’ Chiapello. “We wanted to do something in harmony with those murals.”
The City of Resistencia, in southern Argentina, expressed support for the project but didn’t have the budget. It just promised to help, later.
But Remo didn’t seat and wait.
“We decided to start February 1st, 2017. Our small team included Miriam Acosta and her husband Nico Filipponi… By then, the weather felt like 116°F!” said Remo. “The first thing was to clean the columns, some of them with a very thick coat of old paint and political posters.”
The heat didn’t stop them and slowly more artists got involved. And also friends came around the area, just to say hi or to share mate (a popular South American tea) or sodas.
As the project was progressing and more columns showed their new look with attractive colors and designs, positive comments and support continue to grow.
Local authorities finally showed up. But Remo clarifies that the artists didn’t receive money from the government, and that they didn’t ask for it.
“Artists worked for free,” said Remo with pride. “The materials were paid by neighbors and the Foundation Resistencianos. The city helped by leveling the ground around the columns.”
The commitment to embellish public areas didn’t finished with this project. Right after it’s completion, Remo and his team started a new project: to paint and embellish bus stops and light poles along a popular avenue of Resistencia.
Two volunteers finishing painting the Viaduct at Resistencia, Argentina / Facebook Remo Chiapello
This embellishing project lead by Remo is part of an artistic environment and spirit present in Resistencia, a place known as “the city of the statues,” which organizes a biennial exhibition of sculptures, with the participation of local and international artists ( The Park of the Sculptures is a popular touristic attraction and there are also several museums and cultural centers and a rich cultural movement.
Nevertheless, Remo and his team don’t have plans to rest. “We were invited to implement a similar project in the state of San Luis and in Paraguay!,” said Remo with emotion.
And why not in Los Angeles? Dozens of local art students could help. And thousands of tired, exhausted drivers would be thankful!
Eduardo Stanley
News from California’s Central Valley
Host and producer, Nuestro Foro
Eduardo Stanley

Eduardo Stanley

Eduardo Stanley is a journalist and photographer based in the San Joaquin Valley, California. For over 25 years, Eduardo covered issues related to immigration and other social events shaping the Valley’s history.
Eduardo Stanley