The street art in Bogotá is colorful and inescapable. I’ve traveled to the big cities in Europe with huge street art scenes, but they don’t come close to the quality and quantity of art you find in Bogotá . A combination of Bogotá’s lax laws on street art and abundant abandoned walls have allowed local and international artists to make the city streets a constantly changing canvas.
What I love about street art is its accessibility. People without the time or money to dedicate to visit museums, or do not relate to “highbrow” art in fancy galleries, can still appreciate street art. The transient nature of street art also fascinates me; putting myself in the artists’ shoes, I couldn’t imagine seeing my work erased or destroyed within days. But the fact that street art can be quickly taken down means that it can also be put up quickly. Street artists can tell an ever-evolving story about what matters now and respond to events immediately and reaching a broad audience, in a way that wouldn’t be possible with other types of art.
After just a few days of walking around Bogotá, I fell in love with the different forms of street art from the paste-ups to the stencils to the murals. Street art in general, and particularly in Latin America, is quite critical of socio-economic problems, and I was able to gain a different perspective on local issues through the art. Here’s a pretty self-explanatory example from Avenida Septima, a major pedestrian street.
La Candelaria, the historic center of Bogotá, is where the highest concentration of street art is found. I really enjoyed this stencil piece from La Candelaria:
Another one of my favorites, which contrasts a stark sadness with bold coloring and indigenous patterns:
The following piece, part of a mural that took a crew of artists almost an entire week to create, references the humiliating colonial practice of native people carrying Europeans on their backs through the jungles, deserts, and mountains. Even if this practice is outdated in a literal sense, it still has a lot of meaning for today’s society.
I also decided to take a street art tour, which was one of the best things I could do. Our guide, CRISP, was an Australian artist whose stories gave us a true insider’s perspective on the dangers, social motivations, techniques and unofficial rules behind the art. His passion for the city and for the art really came through during the tour. I highly recommend not only his tour, but taking a closer look at street art wherever you are. You might even learn a thing or two about your own neighborhood.
Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 10am at Plaza de los Periodistas
Free but donation-based, expect to pay around 10 USD or however much you are comfortable with giving
And definitely don’t forget to bring your camera!