By the begining of March, I read the sad news that the “We are not Hippies, we are Happies” mural by Art+Believe in Cerro Alegre was vandalized, almost completely deleted in the middle of the night.
These people thought that a mural written in english, done by foreigners had nothing to do with Valparaiso and its history, without knowing that this is a city that owes a lot to the immigrants, specially British and German ones. They wanted to paint over it without asking anyone their opinion, not even the residents of the hill!
But, what could I do about it?
I thought to paint it back by myself, but it’s was a lot of work and an investment I was not able to do all by myself.
Finally I decided to start a small campaign on Social Media for people to gather and paint it back, starting with buying a small can of black paint and a brush.
The response was actually good, as some neighbours had already re painted the bottom half of the mural when I arrived around 5 pm. So I just got my hands on.
I grabbed my brush and placed a small piece of plastic bottle to make the “Happies not hippies fund”, to buy more paint, brushes or whatever could be necessary to get the job done.
Photos: Valpo Street Art
People were amazing! They even wanted to paint even if it was a short line and I was able to get a refund for the paint and brush and there’s something left if needed (Thank you everyone!). Now nobody can say that this mural has nothing to do with Valparaiso or its people because it was brought back by them.
I managed to end all the black lines with the help of the kind neighbours who brought me cookies and tea. It felt amazing! They also told me that they have some paint to go ahead with the coloring and are looking for a way to add a protecting layer, so it will last over time.
This mural is not only a part of Cerro Alegre, but of the city of Valparaiso and no matter what happens to it, we will be always ready to bring it back to life, because…
Special thanks to Art+Believe for this amazing gift to our neighbourhood, the neigbours of Templeman and Lautaro Rosas St. and Valpo Street Art for sharing this story on social media.