The Power & Politics In Bogotá’s Street Art Scene
I have been writing my name on shit since I was in high school. Nothing particularly inspired, mostly text but sometimes I do some stencil work. By and large I tend to identify as a garden variety vandal, not an artist. My awkward fumbling in the world of graffiti grant me a very genuine appreciation for talent on an intimate level. One of my favorite things to do when I get to a new city is to walk around and take in the literal writings on the wall. Let me tell you – Bogotá is a city of artists.
Thanks to lax graffiti laws, Colombian street artists shine, and rightfully hold a significant place in the international spotlight. Their pieces are bold, beautiful and powerful. Depicting scenes of sex, drugs, politics, feminism, history and culture. These masterpieces, tattoo the skin of the city, transforming ever other crumbling wall into a riot of color and story.
Street artists use paint to openly lash out against social and political issues fearlessly. Nothing is off limits: cartel violence, issues facing indigenous people, and the decades long brutal war between the government and guerrillas that left tens of thousands of Colombians dead and several million homeless.
These are obviously big issues with a lot of emotion that come along with them. I think that the boldness of hanging these issues up rather than hide them away is an exceptional way to address them. Artists have taken this dialog further and founded Bogota Graffiti Tour so that they have the opportunity to show and explain the meanings behind some of the murals. This literal conversation between artist and community is a profoundly lovely thing, creating a culture of openness to address sensitive issues. As I said before, Bogotá is a city of artists and her painted walls still fill my dreams.