Argentine artists bring Buenos Aires to British back streets with mural 

Two local creators hope to infuse their area with La Boca’s colorful community spirit

La Boca to La Stocka project. Image: Molly Troup with Google and photos by John Macaulay

A stained concrete wall below a car park in Stockport, England, is getting a colorful porteño revamp with the help of five artists from La Boca. 

The Argentine muralists have flown more than 11,000 kilometers to the UK to work with the local community of Stockport, on the outskirts of Manchester, to bring a new lease of life to the backstreet between Canal Street and Lower Hopes Carr. What was once a drab block of gray is being transformed by a mural in vibrant arcs of purple, yellow, blue and green, in the style of La Boca’s iconic El Caminito area. 

Eva Luna Maissa, Patricia Salatino, Melina Lluvia, Omar Gasparini and Alejandro Fenochio, from La Boca, will work alongside local creatives in a bid to bring some of their neighborhood’s famed community spirit to the other side of the Atlantic, according to John Macaulay, who developed the project with his wife Sophie Macaulay. 

“[The mural has] been getting people out on the street talking to each other, which is exactly what we wanted to create,” he told the Herald. The couple run participatory, community-oriented projects including the Stockport workshop GRIT Studios and the painting competition, Art Battle Manchester. 

Image created by Molly Troup with photos provided by John Macaulay and Googe Street View

Immigrants who settled in La Boca in the mid-1800s painted their houses with vibrant colors using the paints that were imported from overseas. The area fell into disrepair, but in the 1950s, artist Benito Quinquela Martín, among others, urged the people in La Boca to paint their houses with those same vibrant colors once again. Today, the area’s vivid, multicolored streets have come to represent Buenos Aires internationally, and El Caminito receives tourists from all over the world.

Called La Boca to La Stocka, the project started on September 3 and will be completed on September 12. The mural will be 70 meters long, of which half will blend Argentine styles and stories and the other half will feature those of the United Kingdom. Central to the piece will be a painting of La Boca’s emblematic Avellaneda bridge: forged of British steel, it ties these two places together. 

El Caminito. Image: Buenos Aires City government

Macaulay pointed out that La Boca and Stockport both have working-class, industrial roots. He said that the transformation in La Boca really “shows what people can do when they take ownership of their local area.” Now, he hopes the project will inspire the same ethos of community activism closer to home.

“[It] has put the area on the map for cultural activities and street art,” he said.


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