South American Street Art and Graffiti – Part 1

I’ve always been interested, at least on some level, with graffiti. On my trip around South America I came across such a wide variety, I decided to start taking pictures of it. At it’s best, graffiti is thought-provoking, funny, shocking, political, controversial, and sits with the best art around. It’s art at street level, it’s not meant to sit in a fancy gallery for an elite cultured aristocracy. It provides a voice for the voiceless, a creative outlet for people who may not have the means to communicate any other way.

Of course, not all graffiti reaches those heights, some is just nice to look at, and some is totally bland and uninspiring. The pieces I’ve added below have interested me in some way, whether it’s the message behind them, the technical skill of the artist, or just a  striking composition. First up is Bolivia, and the little town of Copacabana on Lake Titicaca.  This piece is a bit of a cross between graffiti and indigenous art.

To South America - Indigenous art, Bolivia

After Bolivia we crossed over to Peru, and this was taken in Cusco. ‘Pachamama’ means roughly ‘mother earth’, a very important figure to the Andean people.

To South America - Pachamama in Cusco

This is also from Cusco, a very simple line drawing of a dog. But I liked it!

To South America - Dog on the wall, Cusco

These next two come from Iquitos, a world away from the Andes, deep in the Amazon jungle (check out the indigenous figure in the second picture).

To South America - Iquitos streets

To South America - Iquitos, Indian figure

Moving on from Peru we hit Colombia, where the graffiti on the Caribbean coast had some of the tropical feel to it. This one is from Cartagena.

To South America - Colour in Cartagena

Still in Colombia, we moved on to the small village of Taganga.

To South America - Taganga, Colombia

From there we went on to Bogota. Because of the diversity and quality of the graff I saw there, I feel it’s only right to give it it’s own post. Stay tuned!

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