Once considered as an act of vandalism, the graffiti’s image is now changing and even became within just a few years one of Bogota’s most attractive tourist attraction. As a matter of fact it is frequent to see tours roaming around Candelaria, Teusaquillo, Barrio Santa fe, calle 26 or Avenida El Dorado, or even calle 80 with carrera 83 … The walls of the Colombian capital became a real color palette. The facades of the buildings show various graffiti techniques which would even impress street art big shots such as Banksy, Keith Haring and other renowned urban artists.
True Urban Art, but not only, the municipality sometimes asks for big scale pieces of art for which it pays the artists. It boosts the quality of the city’s graffitis while recognizing the talent of the artists. However Graffiti remains a strong means of expression which allows the young generations eager to express their positions and to take part in their own way in the cultural, intellectual and political debate of a country with a troubled past. According to the street artist Edgar Russi, » The graffiti, despite of the numerous rules and new laws on which it is dependent, will never die. There will always be people disagreeing with certain things who are going to express themselves through graffiti, whether it is legal, illegal, or considered vandalism.”
In Bogota, the graffiti and mural paintings are everywhere and of high quality, without a doubt some of the best in the world, the city is even proclaimed Latin America’s capital of Street Art! But who are the artists and the collectives behind these graffiti? Among the long list of urban artists of Bogota some names echo:
Cazdos MDC, Ledania, Skore 999, Zokos, Franco, Rodez, Nomada, Malegria, DjLu, Toxicómano, Vertigo, APC (Animal Poder Crew), Miko, Zudoco, Bastardilla, Guache, Zancudo… Some are socially conscious artists and activists, others focus mainly on the aestheticism of the works.
«Among the most famous works in Bogota we find a portrait of the Colombian Nobel prize of literature Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as a matter of fact this realization was requested by the municipality further to the death of the artist. «
» We are also going to see Toxicómano’s piece of art, the Jaguar and the Miner, denouncing the intensive exploitation of natural resources in Colombia » “El agua vale más que el oro”
» El beso de los invisibles, the representation of Hector Fabio Zamora’s famous photo and also the biggest graffiti of the city realized by the collective Vertigo near the international center. «
» Or also the tribute to Jaime Garzon and the victims of the Patriotic Union “Hasta aquí las sonrisas País de mierda”, painted by Fonso, Sátiro, Rio and Ghore and later restored by the collective Bicromo. The pieces of art realized by the Bogotan graffiti artists are full of surprising and hidden stories. «
However not all the realizations in Bogota became famous for their quality, one of them was made by Justin Bieber and created a huge scandal. In 2013, the singer was giving a concert in town and had a bit of spare time afterwards. He decided to indulge in his new hobby (Graffiti), with the protection of the police under a local bridge, the authorities shut down the bridge and blocked the traffic while the singer sprayed his “masterpiece” under the bridge.
Event all the more scandalous since earlier that year a young graffiti artist, Diego Felipe Becerra, had been killed by the police for trying to escape while getting arrested for doing a graffiti. Double standards which revolted Colombia.
If you wish to learn more about the fascinating world of Street Art in Bogota and to visit this sumptuous open-air gallery and to exchange with the generation for whom Graffiti is a new means of expression, join one of our Graffiti Tours by bike or on foot and the street art of Bogota will have no more secret for you …
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