Since the 20th century, many artists have been using waste products for artistic purposes. One such artist is Oscar Olivares. The Venezuelan has created monumental frescoes from tens of thousands of plastic caps in his home country.
Oscar Olivares uses recycled bottle caps to create ecological murals in several large Venezuelan cities, including Caracas, La Grita, Maracaibo. One of them, representing the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, an important religious figure in the region of Maracaibo, is 30 meters wide and 2.5 meters high.
But these are small works compared with the mural that the artist will inaugurate on December 10 in Guatire, in the state of Miranda. It is set to be the largest mural in the world made of recycled bottle caps, measuring 90 meters long, according to El Diario. The current titleholder was built in Dubai last March 11 by the Saudi branch of Sony PlayStation.
Oscar Olivares was able to count on the help of several volunteers from environmental organizations, as well as residents and schoolchildren of Guatire, to position the 200,000 corks that make up his creation. “It’s exciting to see how a work of urban art can generate such passion in the country," he told El Diario in July.
The artist seems to be universally acclaimed in a country currently in crisis, which has seen an exodus of seven million people in seven years (out of a current total population of about 28 million). The mayor of Maracaibo awarded him the medal of the Order of Honor of Civil Merit on November 11 at the inauguration of his mural of Chiquinquirá, “Niña Zuliana."
This official recognition is spurring Oscar Olivares to continue working in an “unconventional manner" that is “beginning to gain ground in Venezuela," as he explained to the Spanish-language news site. According to him, the creation of other frescoes in recycled bottle caps could give birth to a real artistic movement like kinetic art, the movement to which Venezuelan artists Carlos Cruz-Diez and Jesús Soto belonged, among others. This is why he plans to continue building them in the coming years. “At that rate, it would take us 4 years to go through all the states of Venezuela, something that I would be very excited to achieve,," he said.
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