Grim Photos from a Cemetery for Abandoned Mascots
Foto's door Piedad Bejarano
government waste

Grim Photos from a Cemetery for Abandoned Mascots

Curro was the mascot for Seville's 1992 World Expo. He symbolised hope for a bright future – but that future turned out rather dystopian.

This article originally appeared on VICE Spain

Being born in Seville in the late 1980s and early 1990s meant growing up with Curro – a big, friendly bird with a multi-coloured beak. He was the mascot for the 1992 World Expo in Seville, which was titled The Age of Discovery. Curro symbolised hope for a bright future, and he was everywhere around the city before, during and after the expo – his image was on T-shirts, towels, stickers and posters, and he physically popped up all around the site of the Expo.

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The World Expo was held in Seville that year to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Americas. Costing over £900 million, the Expo site stretched across 215 hectares on the island of Cartuja, from where Columbus was said to have planned his expeditions. The site was one big futuristic metropolis, full of colourful pavilions showcasing the best in architecture, culture and design innovation from around the world. Over the course of six months – from the 12th of April to the 12th of October, more than 41 million visitors crossed the site on a monorail and cable cars.

According to my parents, the Expo was the most important thing to happen to Seville in a long time – socially and economically. They say people thought that the Expo would divide Seville's history in two eras – Pre-Expo and Post-Expo. "It was a door to a new world," my parents told me. "It was a taste of modern art and technology and culture."

25 years later, the Expo site looks more like a post-apocalyptic city than a launchpad to a bright future. In the years after the Expo, nothing was done to maintain the area – and despite protests, many pavilions and gardens were demolished. The cable cars and monorail were dismantled, their pieces stacked on top of each other and left in a corner of the site, which is now a business park.

Seville's dreams of the future during the World Expo are so literally dead, that its mascot rests in a cemetery on the edge of the city. A local antiques shop collected hundreds of Curros – which sat atop rollercoaster cars or lined the entrance to the Expo – and opened what's locally known as the "Curro Cemetery". The memorial is meant to preserve the mascot and the dream for future generations, but at the moment it mostly looks creepy. I recently took my camera and spent a couple of hours with Curro.

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Scroll down for more photos from the Curro Cemetery.