Mahahual festival to attract more than 180 artists

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Cleaning the beaches during the annual Cruzando Fronteras (Crossing Borders) cultural festival in Mahahual, Quintana Roo, has produced enough interesting waste to fill a museum.

But picking up garbage is just one event on the program for the festival, whose purpose is to raise awareness about ocean pollution, which directly affects this Caribbean town, according to mexiconewsdaily.com. Mahahual’s location puts it at a point where ocean currents drag trash from around the globe, depositing it on its beaches.
The festival started serendipitously after Italian writer Pino Cacucci visited Mahahual, population 2,500, and wrote a book.

Mahahual, a non-recyclable paradise sparked the idea for a festival in resident Luciano Consoli, who launched the first edition with the help of local hotels and restaurants in 2013.

“We believe that the best way to defend our habitat is to draw the attention of opinion leaders . . . and a cultural festival is the most direct way to do so,” Consoli told the newspaper Milenio.

Residents, he continued, got together and started inviting intellectuals, writers, singers and “anyone interested in sharing this social fight.”

The continued success of the festival is due to the participation of artists, who receive no pay. “The deal we offer is the trip and some vacation days in paradise, and they give us in return a concert, a speech, a workshop or a play.”

One of the festival’s activities is cleaning up the beaches, and enough garbage has been picked up that Consoli is planning to open a museum and cultural center around it.

“We’ve accumulated plastic and glass bottles; we’ve also got pictures of parts of a satellite that fell [the parts were returned to United States authorities] . . . We need a space to showcase all these weird objects from around the world.

“Some artists are including the rubbish in their paintings, another is making a sculpture with all the sandals that appear on the beach, while others are using driftwood . . . we’re making art out of trash,” said Consoli, who is also the president of the local Hotels, Cabins and Hostels Association.

The museum will be located on open ground, and will include a cultural center to promote social participation and raise awareness about the worldwide problem of pollution.

 An art collection already includes murals, five sculptures and three short films made by local youth in collaboration with the festival and its guest artists.

This year’s festival, which begins May 20, will welcome a record 183 artists from Mexico as well as the United States, Italy, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Spain and Pakistan.

“We’ll have 28 concerts, eight speeches, six plays, six book presentations, movie presentations and workshops on yoga, writing, cumbia, painting, photography and cinema,” said Consoli.

Three artists will create original work during the festival, which will be donated to the people of Mahahual at its conclusion, on May 27.

The town is situated in the municipality of Othón P. Blanco and is a four and half hour drive from Cancún.

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