Discovering Street Art in Bogota, Colombia

In 2011, police shot dead a 16 year old street artist in Colombia’s capital city, Bogota. Outrage fuelled protests followed, prompting City Hall to decriminalise street art, putting an end to a historical conflict between police and artists.  Bogota’s vibrant street art scene is now free to grow and a must see on many a travellers’ bucket list when visiting Colombia.

With Colombia named as one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries to visit in 2017 and the recent excellent news of the country’s historic peace deal, revisiting memories from my visit in 2014 has been irresistible for me. It’s in my personal top 5 countries I’ve been lucky to visit on my travels. There are so many reason’s for this, but let’s start with a colourful one: Bogota’s street art. 

Bogota Street Art

Street Art is is legal in Bogota, which means artists are able to create huge intricate pieces of work without fear of getting moved on or arrested. They no longer need to quickly paint in the middle of the night (although this does sound an exciting way of doing it), but can work openly during the day. This has attracted a number of artists to the city and means there’s huge variety in the art they produce.

If you know me, you’ll know how much I love the street art around Latin America so I was very excited to learn more when I visited Bogota. Australian artist, Crisp, lives in Bogota and runs an excellent street art walking tour around the city. It gives an insight into the history, artists, and the different types of work you can see – many of which would be easy to miss with untrained eyes!

The horrible history of street art becoming legal has at least a little silver lining in that the city is now brimming with colour and many people celebrate and encourage artists to paint on their walls.

Whether you love street art or think it’s all just unsightly grafitti, when visiting Bogota it’s a part of the culture and worth checking out. A walking tour can be a great way to find your bearings in what can be a bit of an intimidating city, as well as giving insight into the social and political issues of Colombia.

Here’s a taster…

Sculpture Street Art

Bogota Street art mask
Masks, with different patterns and colours are found on the city centre walls.
Bogota street art toucan
Colourful bird sculptures create a flash of colour.
Bogota Street Art Scarlet Maccaw
The same artist creates different birds with a distinctive halo circle. I love the colours and textures they use.
Bogota Street Art Ronzo
A different type of sculpture by London Street Artist, Ronzo.
Bogota street art sculpture
Don’t forget to look up when in Bogota to be sure not to miss these sculptures

Murals are a part of the city 

Large murals are found all over the city, and are a beautiful part of everyday life

Bogota Street art mural playground
Hanging out in the playground.
Bogota Street Art mural
Wandering down the street
Bogota Street Art mural
Faces on the walls
Bogota Street Art
Art brightens up so many different walls in this city

Street Art with a Message

Bogota street art animal cruelty the environment
This artist creates powerful messages around animal cruelty and the environment
Bogota street art mural environment
Plastic waste is killing wildlife
Bogota street art mural
Many murals are politically charged, aiming to give powerful messages to the people of the city. Colombian street artist DjLu’s work can be seen here
Bogota Street art DjLu
A detail on DjLu’s piece. Gun in a cocktail glass and some pretty dangerous looking insects!

Bogota street art

Father and Sons

bogota-street-art-19
Father and son street artists, Rodez, Nomada and Malegria work together creating some of my favourite murals in the city.

Decorating the city

Bogota street art birds
Many shops and residents commission works on the side of their property to avoid tagging. Tagging is where artists sign their name/ tag on the wall (the squiggles you’ve probably seen) – artists avoid doing this over another artist’s work, so there’s a benefit in having a mural.
Bogota Street Art Colour
I love how the colour in much of the art brightens any wall

Hidden touches

Bogota Street Art
You could easily miss these naughty labels by street artist, Lik Me. She creates paper labels and sticks them on signs around the city.

Famous Artists

Bogota Street Art Stinkfish
Many well known artists are keen to show in Bogota. None more well know in this area of the world than Stinkfish who grew up in Bogota (born in Mexico)

You can follow Crisp on Instagram here for some top street art posta. Plus our very own #wanderfulwednesday host blogger Marcella from What a Wonderful World is a favourite source of street art pictures from around the world. Marcella is also on instagram.

 

What’s your favourite city for street art? 

 

This post is part of the Wanderful Wednesday blog hop!

Meet the hosts: Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel ofThe Sunny Side of This and me, Marcella of What a Wonderful World.

wanderful-wednesday-image

10 Comments

  1. The street art in Bogota looks amazing! So cool that it’s legal. I’ve heard great things about the street art tour there, but unfortunately I did not have time to make it to Bogota this time around while in Colombia. I would agree though that Colombia is one of my favorite countries to this point in my travels! I’ll have to get back one day, make it to Bogota and check out the art scene 😀

    1. It’s really cool – hope you get a chance to see it one day. I want to go back too! It’s amazing how a visit to Colombia can quickly capture a person’s heart 🙂

  2. Oh wow, what a whirlwind of emotions. I got so excited to see these colorful murals but I was so shocked to read about the reason why this movement got revitalize 🙁

    1. It is awful – the story was that there had been violence between the police and the artists for a while and then this incident brought it all to a head. Terribly sad and bitter sweet when looking at all the wonderful art there is now!

    1. He he – I’m sure you will – I have thousands of photos! 😉 The colours are just addictive. Hope you get a chance to go one day 🙂

    1. Oh I really hope you do make it back – think you would LOVE it – there’s so much colour and variety of art there – beautiful 🙂

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