Ecuador in Murals

Mimi Hassett, Docent,  Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA (March 2020) 

Murals can tell many stories about a location and can help educate a visitor regarding the area. I found a few on a recent trip to Ecuador that displayed the country’s culture and bountiful assets. The murals in this article were discovered in public areas and illustrate a local market scene, the national industry of weaving, the use of parks, and neighborhood “happenings.” Here are my favorites, their stories, and the cities they are located in.

ecuador mural marketplace

“Going to Market” is an integral aspect of shopping in Ecuador. Everyone makes time to go to market for the fresh vegetables, flowers, meat, baked goods, and pretty much anything one may want. This mural, located in the town of Cuenca, was painted on the side of a building that housed a large city market. A viewer can see three spires of the landmark Cuenca’s Cathedral at the top of the illustration. Below the spires the artist depicts layers of “homes” and buildings resting on a collection of blue tents and market produce. The artist may be depicting an interdependency of local residents and businesses on these market enterprises.

Ecuador mural weaver

The tile depiction of a spinner/weaver working in her home appeared on a wall adjacent to an open market in Quito. The raising of sheep, llama, and cotton provides the materials to support a vast home industry of spinning, weaving, and knitting of a variety of fiber goods. Many of these items are available in numerous markets and very fashionable shops which are popping up to accommodate the tourist trade and relocated expatriates.

Ecuador mural palm tree

This decorative tree painting, located in a park in Cotacachi, is both entertaining and fun. Town squares or parks that dot towns and villages are a vital component of the Ecuadorian social life. Folks will gather in the parks to escape the midday sun which in Ecuador shines directly overhead minimizing any shadows. They can also listen to music, enjoy craft and art displays, maybe a soap box speech or two, meet neighbors, or relax and people watch on the plentiful seats.

Ecuador mural window

A local artist created this colorful mural on the wall of a little restaurant outside my window at the Hotel Victoria in Cuenca. The image captures and displays the spirited fun of the neighborhood. A variety of restaurants offer fresh entrees, baked goods, coffee, and more. Shops display local products and artisan goods as well as home goods and great used bookshops. The evening brings out folks for both the restaurants and the expansive music venues.
Ecuador is an amazing country. It provides a visitor with a unique experience as depicted in the above murals. The market settings, textile industry, variety of parks, and activity of the neighborhoods are just a glimpse of the country’s many offerings.