Kobra mural on display at Hotel Matilda
By Sandra Ríos
Walking through the streets of San Miguel we found an amazing mural painted by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra on the façade of Hotel Matilda. It will remain in place for a month so people will have the opportunity to admire it. Kobra was born in 1975 in São Paulo, Brazil. He began painting graffiti in his hometown at the age of 12 in a movement called pixação, and at age 17 he began designing more elaborate murals. His art is cataloged as street art, a movement that first emerged locally and today is exhibited in the world’s major cities and in galleries and museums. Most of his murals were inspired by books and old pictures he collects and have a vintage or retro feel. When painting on walls, he uses strong bold colors.
According to Kobra, São Paulo has not preserved its architectural and cultural heritage, as San Miguel has, and he considers it a shame that in that city they destroy old buildings to build new ones. This led him to paint a large mural, as a protest, on Avenida Paulista, where historic homes were demolished. His work can be seen in major cities worldwide and in smaller places such as Lyon, France, where his work is located in a central part of the city where the original architecture has been preserved. His mural in London is also surrounded by classical architecture; Moscow has a mural commissioned by the Russian government, next to the Bolshoi Theater, depicting a dancer. Rome has another mural by Kobra on the façade of the MAAM Museum, paying tribute to Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani student, activist and blogger who has strongly fought for the rights to education. And in the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami, Kobra painted two large murals inside Art Basel 2103.
These are just some of his most representative murals, but what really brought him to international fame was a mural he painted as a posthumous tribute to architect Oscar Niemeyer, which measures 52 meters high by 16 wide and completely covers the side of a building on Avenida Paulista.
This is the first time he has been invited to Mexico to paint a mural. The character he chose to depict on it is a mariachi, “a typical and representative character of Mexico, who is naturally integrated to the city. The mariachi colors the city with music, and that is why he is playing a trumpet,” said Kobra. “My work respects and is associated with architecture and the urban landscape; it fits into classic places through its aesthetics and type of design.” His mariachi is based on an old picture he found in black and white. He says he is a great admirer of Diego Rivera’s work, because it has been a great reference for him. Kobra is thankful for the opportunity to show his work in San Miguel, even though the mural is ephemeral. He also has been invited to participate in the Street Art Festival in Guadalajara and Mexico City during August and September, although this has not yet been confirmed.