Guache - Bogotá Graffiti - Latinamerikaliv
Indigenous woman by Colombian artist Guache in la Candelaria, Bogotá

Being one of the most graffiti liberal cities in the world, Bogotá in 2015 hosts at least 5000 big mural paintings and somewhere between 3000 and 5000 street artists. Graffiti paintings in Bogotá often reflect the biodiversity of the country as well as the social situation and the armed conflict that haunts Colombia since 60 years back.

Bogotá Street art - By Latinamerikaliv
Callejón del Embudo, la Candelaria, Bogotá
DJ LU - Bogotá Graffiti - Latinamerikaliv
The consequences of the oil and mining industry. Stencil by Colombian DJ LU, Centro Bogotá

The Street Art situation in Bogotá is quite special in many ways. The police rarely harass street artists anymore. In Bogotá, you cannot get arrested nor get a criminal record for painting graffiti, as long as it is not on a governmental building.

Rodez - Bogotá Street art - Latinamerikaliv
A Rodez paiting on the house that is said to be the oldest in Bogotá, at Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo in la Candelaria, Bogotá. The Colombian family Rodez, (dad and his two sons) always put lots of eyes in their paintings.

The mayor of Bogotá Gustavo Petro (leaving office in December) has favoured and financed a lot of street art in Bogotá, acknowledging its potential to create including politics for young people from excluded areas.

Somos memoria - Bogotá street art - By Latinamerikaliv
We are the memory, la Candelaria, Bogotá
Guache - Bogotá Graffiti - Latinamerikaliv 2
Street art by Colombian Guache, la Candelaria, Bogotá

Although in la Candelaria a significant number of the paintings are made by international artist from Australia, Germany, Canada, Spain and Mexico, 90% of the paintings in Bogotá are estimated to be made by Colombian artists.

Guache - Bogotá Graffiti - Latinamerikaliv 3
Guache, la Candelaria, Bogotá

It is always difficult to generalise, but a significant difference between the average Western and the Latin American street artists is found in the colours as well as the shapes. Many Latin American artists use loads of bright colours and round shapes, while the Western painter use fewer colours and more rigid shapes. (As you can tell from the selected photos above, I already know which I like the best!)

Pez - Street Art Bogotá - Latinamerikaliv
Painting by Pez from Barcelona (Not my favourite, but we all have different tastes.)
Mexican artist - Bogotá street art - Latinamerikaliv
Painting by a Mexican artist (Indeed one of my favourites, though.)
Bogota street art - Inspired by Banksy - Latinamerikaliv
Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo in la Candelaria, Bogotá

Still no Banksy in Bogotá, although there are many paintings inspired by his style.

Bastardilla - Bogotá street art - Latinamerikaliv
Painting by famous (female!) Colombian Bastardilla, la Candelaria, Bogotá

A painting in average lasts for 2-3 years in Bogotá but some are even 6 years old, like the one above. That’s almost ancient for a modern graffiti. This is possible in Bogotá, since there is no fight about space. There are enough walls for everybody.

Bogotá street art - APC Animal Power Crew - Latinamerikaliv
Painting by the Painting by Colombian graffiti collective APC – Animal Power Crew

Graffiti painters in Bogotá use the concrete walls along the highways and the walls of abandoned houses awaiting demolision. But there’s one more common option here. House and restaurant owners reckon that there is a win-win situation in cooperating with graffiti painters. Many painters ask house owners (in old town Candelaria in particular) if they can paint on their wall. The owners pay the material and in turn avoid having their walls tagged all the time and having to repaint their walls every three months.

Zedania - Bogotá street art - Latinamerikaliv
Zedania, la Candelaria, Bogotá (Also female! I don’t like pointing that out. But in the graffiti world, it’s still not very common.)
Stinkfish - Bogotá Street art - Latinamerikaliv
Painting by Stinkfish, with the characteristic colours coming out of the eyes of faces taken from old photographies.

Guache and others - Bogotá street art - By Latinamerikaliv

Along calle 20 at the height of carrera 4, you’ll find a long wall painted by Guache, Toxicomano, Stinkfish and various street artists together. This painting was here already when I came to Colombia 5 years ago. It shows how the poor Colombian carry the rich and all the consumerism goods of the rich man. The birds in front of them yet represent a strive for freedom.

Crisp - Bogotá Street art - Latinamerikaliv
A political question posed by Australian artist Crisp.

Bogotá graffiti - International fruit companies violence - Latinamerikaliv

It looks like a pineapple but is at the same time a grenade, symbolising the violence that come with the international fruit companies in Colombia. For their banana and pineapple plantations, vast areas of land have to be “cleaned” from opponents. And there are no scruples when it comes to methods to displace people.

Bogotá street art - Restaurante Sant Just - Latinamerikaliv
The wall of Restaurant Sant Just
Bogotá street art - Homelessness - Latinamerikaliv
Homelessness in Latin America
Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 11.57.10
Walk this route and you should find all the mentioned paintings.

Links to some awesome street artists who are active in Bogotá:

Stinkfish (Bogotá, Colombia): stink.tk
Guache (Bogotá, Colombia): guache.co
Pez (Barcelona, Spain): el-pez.com
DJ LU (Bogotá, Colombia): flickr.com/photos/juegasiempre
Bastardilla (Bogotá, Colombia): bastardilla.org
Toxicomano (Bogotá, Colombia): flickr.com/photos/toxicomano666
Rodez (Bogotá, Colombia): flickr.com/people/rodez
Crisp (Sydney, Australia): crispstreetart.com

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