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Enamora Mérida, one woman’s vision and the power of positivity

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Montserrat Pastrana posing in front of one of enamora Mérida’s most recent creations. Photo: Courtesy

Enamora Mérida began as an idea by Montserrat Pastrana to cheer up the city and offer up a little hope during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In just under a year, Enamora Mérida has already beautified over 100 sports across the city. Photo: Courtesy

Though the project would evolve over time and bring in dozens of volunteer artists, Montserrat’s original plan was to simply paint inspiring words on walls and facades, always with permission of course.

The designs started off fairly basic and used mainly stencils and text, but as time went on became more elaborate. Photo: Courtesy

“At first my husband and I started offering to paint motivational phrases around town. It turned out that people loved the idea and we just kept going from there,” recalls Montserrat. 

Enamora Mérida’s motivational phrases contain Yucatecan idioms with roots from the Yucatec-Mayan language, as well as common expressions and allusions to local customs and culture. Photo: Courtesy

Once the pair had painted a few city walls, people really started to take notice and volunteer their own time and talents to the cause. “Before we knew it graffiti artists, illustrators, and even muralists were asking to work with us, we were thrilled of course,” says Montseratt.

In August 2020, Enamora Mérida’s collective of artists and volunteers completed their 100th project and they have no intention of slowing down. Photo: Courtesy

Enamora Mérida’s work tends to concentrate on themes of togetherness, family as well as environmental issues and always strives for positivity.

Mural reading “let’s be the voice for those who don’t have one.” Photo: Courtesy

“I have been doing graffiti for over a decade now. This is such a fun project, It’s really cool to get my work seen by so many people,” said Manuel Ceballos, a volunteer with Enamora Mérida who is also a professional boxer who goes by the moniker El Venado.

Montserrat admits that when the project was first starting up in January 2021 she was a little worried that government authorities would object, but as it turned out, both city and state authorities were thrilled to get in on the action and even invited them to work their magic at a few city parks.

Enamora’s work is free, but they do appreciate donations of materials such as paint. Photo: Courtesy

The collective’s phrases and murals can now be found all over town, but they are always looking for their next canvas, though their waitlist is now a few weeks long. 
Enamora Mérida can be contacted through various social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram, where they have gathered thousands of followers and admirers.

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