La Candelaria Street Art – world famous graffiti in downtown Bogotá 8


Bogotá: capital of Colombia.

Population: 8 million.

Elevation: 2640m (making it the third highest capital in South America).

Bogota street art 9, Bogota, Colombia

And what is it famous for?

Drugs?

Violence?

Maybe in the past. But Colombia has moved on. And Bogotá has too. These days the city is famous for its graffiti slash street art. La Candelaria district, a historic neighbourhood in downtown Bogotá, is a treasure-trove of such works.

Bogota street art 11, Bogota, Colombia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

The declassification of graffiti as a criminal act in Bogotá has led to a boom in street art. Artists have travelled to Bogotá from around the world to leave their mark here.

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Such as this work, by Barcelona native, Pez, a street artist of global renown. Pez is known for his Barcelona happy style, featuring abundant large smiling fish.

Bogota street art 2, Bogota, Colombia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Or this artwork, by Ecuadorian street artist, Vera, featuring a woman eating a butterfly.

Bogota street art 6, Bogota, Colombia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Local Colombian artists have a fondness for producing psychedelically coloured murals, incorporating indigenous peoples and themes, such as this work by street artist, Guache.

Bogota street art 3, Bogota, Colombia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

And this work, featuring a Guna woman, also by Gauche.

Bogota street art 13, Bogota, Colombia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Bogotá local, Rodez, also goes for bold, colourful schemes. In this mural he has produced a showcase of Colombian birds, including macaws, flamingos, and hummingbirds.

Bogota street art 4, Bogota, Colombia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

This three dimensional art work marks the start of Calle del Embudo, a tiny cobblestoned laneway leading to Chorro de Quevado Plaza, the birthplace of Bogotá (the city was founded in 1538).

Bogota street art 12, Bogota, Colombia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

This artwork, also by Rodez, decorates one of the oldest structures in the city, a building almost 500 years-old. Its placement on such a historically significant structure shows the acceptance of street art in Bogotá.

Bogota street art 14, Bogota, Colombia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Street art used to appear overnight; the work of urban guerrillas. Now it is being commissioned by shop owners and city councils, as well as being promoted in community and school projects.

Bogota street art 5, Bogota, Colombia

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Fun, vibrant, decorative, politically motivated, or just a convenient way to deter taggers; street art does it all. And when it comes to street art, Bogotá is leading the way.


Practical information and how to reach Bogotá:

El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá has regular flights to the United States, scattered cities in Europe, and most major cities in South America. More transport info here.


More on Colombia:

Southern Colombia:

San Agustín – cartoonish statues that protect the dead? 

Popayán – the illustrious White City that delivered 17 Colombian presidents


Central Colombia:

The salt mines of Zipaquirá – ever seen a salt cathedral?

Bogotá – gold, graffiti. and Botero

Barichara – sleepy colonial town where they eat fat-bottomed ants

Villa de Leyva – Casa de Antonio Ricaurte, El Fósil, and a colossal public square


Northern Colombia:

La Ciudad Perdida – four day hike to the Lost City of the Tayrona priests

Santa Marta – oldest continually inhabited colonial city in Colombia


More on South America:

Argentina:

Perito Moreno Glacier – colossal ice wall

El Chaltén – meringue-like glaciers and jagged peaks

Brazil

Iguazu Falls – greatest cascades on Earth

Ihla Grande – home to Brazil’s most beautiful beach

Chile:

The Moai Quarry archaeological site, Easter Island

Mount Villarrica – trek to the top of an active volcano

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