Colourful Streets

Browse through this blog briefly and you will very quickly discover that I am more than a little bit in love with Latin America. I thought my love of nature would mean that I wouldn’t like the cities. I was wrong. This post aims to celebrate the thing that persuaded me to love the cities… the stunning urban art I saw throughout my trip. There are so many more photos, but these are just a few of my favourites from CHILE, ECUADOR, COLOMBIA, BOLIVIA, EL SALVADOR and GUATEMALA…

CHILE 

Valparaiso

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Valparaiso is a port city with a difference, about 2 hours from Santiago on a bus. I’ve never been anywhere so abundant with colour.  I spent 3 days getting gloriously lost in the maze of steep cobbled streets, refusing to believe I needed to take the funicular.

The place is brimming with artists, poets and painters who could be seen working on nearly every corner as I trekked around.

Artist in Valparaiso

 

The streets are brimming with their work. Paintings are on every street and stairway.

Lady and Cat, Valparaiso street art
Lady and her cat
A helping hand. Street Art Valparaiso
A helping hand. Part of a larger mural.
Face
Face on the wall of a house

People will paint everything they can find…

Painted door. Valparaiso
Creepy lady painted on the door to someones home. Quite a good way of getting rid of unwanted visitors. I might try this.
Lamp post, Valparaiso
Lamp posts don’t escape the colour rush either
Alien on a door, Valparaiso
A slightly more inviting door. I love this weird little alien character.

Vistas are one of the things that make Valparaiso so popular and the higher you climb the more beautiful they become. You also get a sense of the scale of some of the art work.

Vista in Valparaiso
Birds eye view of a mural. No building is complete without one in this town
Colourful houses, Valparaiso
If grey is your favourite colour, you probably shouldn’t live here.

 

Santiago

The capital city of Chile is not short of an artist or two either. Barrio Brasil is well known to be area where you can stuff your eyes full street art. I stayed in Barrio Bellavista and collected these beauties for my memory banks…

Painting of a man, Santiago
Indigenous themed painting on the side of a house. His eyes look so sad.
Somos Mapuche, Santiago
A tribute to Matias Catrileo a student protester who was shot in the back in 2008. It reads ‘We are not Chilenos. We are Mapuche’. Mapuche is an indigenous people in Chile.

 

Cat on a door, Santiago
Obviously I liked this one because it has a cat in it. This door was never open so I don’t know what was inside… is it a home, is it a shop…? Don’t know, but it’s a very cool door.
Street Art, Santiago Chile
Masked affection?
Pied Piper, Santiago, Chile
Outside the cultural centre

As I left to go for a bike and wine trip of a vineyard, this lady had started painting at the end of my street. As I stumbled back to my hostel after, trying 2 rose, 3 whites and 2 red, I noticed that she’d finished and it looked just as I wanted to look when I was younger. I always wanted blue hair…

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The Chilean urban artist INTI has also done two murals in the centre of Santiago. I’m not certain, but I think they are meant to be a bit like Ekeko dolls, which are traditional dolls in Bolivia, Peru and parts of Chile. They are covered with all the items you can imagine you need to live a happy, fulfilled life.

INTI art in Santiago
All the things you need… food, coca leaves, drink, literature, modern technology… what else can you see in the picture?
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Kids, music, agriculture, love, TV, money…

 

Ecuador

Quito

On the way up to the Parque Itchimbia on the hill to see the view of Old Town Quito, I came across a very large mural…

Mural, Quito
So much detail in the face of the older man
Quito Mural
The other end of this enormous mural

 

Otovalo

The main draw of Otovalo is the incredible market, but look around and there is lots of free stuff on the walls as well…

Child gangsta, Otovalo Ecuador
Child gangsta
Mural, Otovalo
These legs tied together are part of an enormous mural that headed all the way from the market into the central plaza that seemed to tell a story of the Spanish conquest

 

Colombia

Bogota

Bogota is a truly excellent place to see a lot of street art. I went on the Grafitti tour (http://bogotagraffiti.com/about) which gives just an introduction to the enormous amount of the art there is here by well known artists such as Stinkfish and Bastardilla as well as many others who come from all over the world.  There used to be a war between the law enforcers and the artists. However, following the death of a very young artist who was shot by the police, the street art is now tolerated in Bogota and the place is bursting with colour.

Stinkfish, Bogota
Just one of the pieces by Stinkfish. We saw many.
Rodez, Bogota
Part of a painting by the family trio from Buenos Aires. A father and 2 sons that paint street art together. They all have different styles, which come together to create a lot of different images throughout Bogota. Here’s a bit more about them… http://buenosairesstreetart.com/2011/09/family-guys-interview-with-malegria-and-rodez/
Grafitti, Bogota
A lady with a camera and a zombie. Some of my favourite things
DJ Lu, Bogota
Pineapple bomb
Mosquito gun wings, Bogota
Mosquito gun wings
Tortoise, Bogota
Issues such as animal rights are addressed through art
Indigenous lady, Bogota
Painted on the side of someones house…

 

 

It’s not just paintings that make up the street art in Bogota. Sculpture is also common, including absolutely loads of these masks.

Ceramic mask, bogota
Ceramic masks with different designs are everywhere in the city. Just keep looking up

Mask, Bogota

Juggler, Bogota
You have to look up to see these too. Sculptures of various characters can be found like a treasure hunt around the city

 

Cartagena

Mans face, Cartagena

Happy lady, Cartagena
Found by accident, when I got lost down what was actually a bit of a dodgy seeming alleyway. A very happy face.

 

Bolivia

Potosi

Images from the mining town.

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El Salvador

Santa Tecla

Not all the art work is on walls. This indigenous face was created on a stone in the city by artists, Yuri and Patty.

Indigenous rock
Artist, Patty, signs the work when it is finished
No soy de piedra
‘No soy de piedra’ (I am not of stone)
Yuris tree, Santa Tecla
Yuri also likes to paint dead trees as a protest against the number of trees being chopped for construction in Santa Tecla. This is a very sad tree

 

A tradition in El Salvador is to create these pictures on the floor using coloured salt. People stay up all night to create them. You can see more in my other post here

Salty Street Art, Santa Tecla
At Easter, the streets were covered in work made of coloured salt
Salt art, San Salvador
This one was in down town San Salvador

In Suchitoto these stencilled artworks can be found on many houses. They are part of a campaign against domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Campaign, Suchitoto
Seen on houses free of violence against women

 

Guatemala

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan

This was the first place I went to study Spanish with my good friend Amy, and an introduction to the world of having pictures on street.

Amy, San Pedro, Guatemala
My friend Amy with the mural we saw every day as we walked to school

 

4 Comments

    1. 🙂 And I had to cut down the photos so much as there were even more in my collection!! I really do feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel so much there and the colourful streets were one of my favourite things. There is still so much more to see though. SA – it’s definitely a heart capturing place – we’ll both have a life long love affair with no doubt! 🙂

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