Within a few scant weeks of setting my feet on Ecuadorian soil, the adventures of exploring the countryside were underway. There are many rocky paths in Ecuador that might be mistaken for roads. I seek these out as you never know what you may see in these out of the way places. I don’t waste time, the things I’m after are pretty valuable. I also don’t make photographs of other peoples art. However, I had to violate that agreement with myself when I saw this fantastic mural on the side of a dilapidated house. The old home was constructed of unbaked adobe blocks and lay deep in El Campo along rocky and rushing waters of the Río Yanuncay.
I kept hiking out that way and seeing the mural. And, I kept liking it more and more. Sure, there are big fancy murals all over Ecuador, rendered by well known artists, garnering much attention. There’s beautiful work to be seen in many places. But sadly, the countryside, my beloved El Campo, is largely forgotten by the arts. Well, not differing in the least from the manner in which artists have used art to shed light on social issues for millennia, this piece of artwork carried a hefty message. It kept hitting me right between the eyes and going straight to my guts every time I saw it.
Part of my consideration in whether to photograph the art was its obscure location. I felt the murals physical beauty and even more beautiful message were not reaching an appropriately sized audience for such a powerful message. I was also saddened that the artist(s) had failed to apply their mark to the piece. Plus, the arts longevity was an issue as the building was in ill repair. So, I made the photograph.
Now, five years have passed and the signage is no more as I thought might be the case. But, the building is still standing. I’m still standing too along with everyone I know in defense of the rights of children. I don’t know who wrote these poignant words and painted innocent images on this timeworn adobe but their message is clear and well received. Paraphrased, “Children have rights to a life, to a name and to be loved.” Yes they do, they’re innocent and the artists message reveals the simplicity of basic human needs. Very cool indeed.