Heritage and innovation: decorative painting and restoration of frescoes in the Caribbean and Europe

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UNESCO's Transcultura program has partnered with Mad'in Europe to connect professionals from Europe and young creators from the Caribbean in order to exchange skills linking heritage and creativity.

Murals have played a crucial role as visual testimonies of diverse cultures throughout history. This art form, the first developed by humans, is a window into the past that allows us to understand the evolution of humanity and is a powerful tool for expressing a community's cultural identity as well as creativity artists. Although decorative painting has had a strong presence in Europe, it is also part of the rich cultural heritage of Latin America. 

In order to promote its appreciation and discuss the challenges linked to its restoration, the UNESCO program Transcultura: Integrating Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union through culture and creativity, funded by the European Union, in collaboration with the professional network of artisans in Europe Mad'in Europe, organized the online debate Decorative painting and fresco restoration in the Caribbean and Europe. Skills linking heritage and contemporary creation, which took place on March 26, 2024 via Zoom.

“ Frescoes and wall paintings are one of the ancient forms of visually recording the culture of a community. Currently, street art also provides a much more accessible space for participation and consumption of art, transforming public spaces into open-air canvases.”

Anne Lemaistre
Director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Havana

At this event, professionals from Europe and young creators from the Caribbean highlighted how knowledge and skills in decorative painting can serve both conservation and contemporary creation, in addition to highlighting the scale that this profession represents in terms of creativity, personal development, employment, preservation of cultural heritage and sustainability in maintaining and building the heritage of the future.

“ Muralism is a growing industry. Both the private sector and institutions use it to transmit messages, beautify environments and promote social cohesion. It adds value to spaces and becomes a source of job creation.”

Cromcin Caromil Domínguez Cepeda,
General Manager of Transitando, Dominican Republic

Participants shared best practices and tips related to conservation, such as choosing sustainable materials, innovation in product formulation, the importance of following new trends and how to enable decorative painters to challenge today's challenges and respond effectively to orders received.

“Murals are essential vectors of intergenerational cultural transmission. Due to their importance and vulnerability, a particularly fertile field of scientific and technical research has been developed to generate conservation and restoration methods that are increasingly respectful of the works..

Fabien Gandolfi,
Director of Artemisia Formation, France

Through this initiative, the Transcultura program promotes regional integration and knowledge sharing and opens opportunities for collaboration between professionals from the Caribbean and Europe.