Exploring the meaning of the owl mural at our Learning Art and Fun Center

If you have visited our new Learning, Art & Fun Center, you are most likely familiar with the bright, colorful mural of an owl near the entrance.

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Created by Safe Passage Creative Expression coordinator, Noel, and volunteers, Marlon and Natalia, the mural is a reminder that inside the walls of Safe Passage, the world is vibrant.

In direct contrast with the surrounding landscape that is the Guatemala City garbage dump, Safe Passage is full of life.

Earlier this year Safe Passage staff member, Carlos, had the opportunity to interview Noel about the mural:

Carlos: What was your inspiration for creating the mural?

Noel: We wanted to create something colorful to contrast the dark landscape that surrounds the area where we are located.

Carlos: Why did you chose an owl?

Noel: We chose an owl as a symbol of observation, analysis and the ability to rise above difficult situations. This reflects the challenges that many people in the community face day after day. The main idea was to have a visual element near the entrance to grab people’s attention immediately. The use of bright colors and the emphasis on the expression in the bird’s eyes helped us achieve that goal.

Carlos: You mentioned that you wanted to make a contrast between the painting and the landscape, are there any other elements accompanying the painting?

Noel: The colors of the plants and flowers make the space look even more striking. Regardless of what we paint, it’s easy to steal attention from the mountains of garbage, dust, and absence of color surrounding our landscape.

Carlos: Are you planning on creating additional paintings like this one?

Noel: Of course! We are planning on creating more wall paintings and murals this year, and hopefully we can make that happen.

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Art-based education is an essential component of a child’s development. Through our Creative Expression Program, we promote and enhance social, cognitive, analytical, and communication skills.

Creative Expression fosters student creativity and critical thinking in a place of peace, and the owl mural is a reminder that Safe Passage is a haven of hope within a place of great poverty.