The graffiti Bogota presides over within (and covering) it’s concrete jungle walls is truly spectacular. I caught the graffiti bug when I was traveling and trading in Brazil, and this has carried over throughout my travels. Rio de Janeiro has some of the world’s greatest graffiti, and I was truly entranced by it while there. I didn’t expect to find another city that could rival Rio for it’s graffiti. That was until I arrived in Bogota, Colombia.
This mural comes complete with the street address so you can find it yourself.
The graffiti Bogota possesses is truly overwhelming. There are world-class murals from the far north, to the far south, from Monserrate to the western edge of the city. If you are pressed for time and want to see some of central Bogota’s best works there’s a great option for you: Bogota Bike Tour’s Graffiti Tour. Since this combines two of my passions, cycling and graffiti, I was definitely excited to check it out.
Juan, our fun and bilingual guide giving commentary on the mural.
The tour starts from Bogota Bike Tour’s shop in Candelaria and takes you crisscrossing the central and near northern parts of Bogota. The vastness of the city and its quality graffiti can be intimidating. What I liked best about the tour was that Juan knew where the best pieces were, and how to safely get you there. As you could imagine, Bogota can be dangerous, so having someone there who knew how to safely get from mural to mural was key.
A mural of some of Colombia’s most famous people.
Juan provided background and history on the inspiration for some of the pieces. A common theme in Bogotano graffiti is politics, drugs, and dissidence. I love how graffiti expresses the critiques and beauty of a culture, and this is very evident in the graffiti scene in Bogota.
Toxicomano is one of Bogota’s most famous street artists.
The above painting is a social commentary on the unfortunately common crime in Colombia of wife beating. This terrible act is so common in fact, that there are ads at soccer games that remind the attendees of the soccer game that it’s not cool, and illegal to beat your wife or girlfriend. Just one example of how social commentary plays out in graffiti.
Unfortunately true that the Colombian passport is nothing to be envied.
The poor perception of Colombia, and Colombians around the world is common. To travel as a Colombian is an extremely hard undertaking to many countries, including my home of Canada. My one Colombian friend was denied access to Canada after an extremely rigorous application process, and paying 500,000COP ($275). Reminds you how nice it is to hold a passport from a Western country.
A biting commentary of President Santos.
I found the above piece to be interesting in that it uses a combination of Spanish and English to describe their dislike for the current president. “San” in Spanish is: Saint, and obviously “Ababitch” is self explanatory. It’s also a play on words, with the current president’s last name being: Santos. In general, Santos is well liked, but not nearly as popular as his predecessor: Uribe.
Wild collage. Not really sure of the meaning behind it.
Graffiti Bogota: How to Experience this Amazing Art-form for Yourself:
Bogota Bike Tours offers a great way to see some of the best of Bogota’s graffiti. Contact them for more info:
You can also experience it by exploring on your own. The graffiti is everywhere in the city. The tour, however, is a nice way to see some of the best work, stay safe, and have an informative guide.
Graffiti Bogota: Some More of My Fav’s