The cityscape of Medellín is, from above, actually kind of boring. The buildings are almost universally of brick in a burnt sienna color. It’s crazy how uniform it is, especially coming from the coast of Colombia where the streets of towns look more like the inside of a gumball machine, with every building a different vibrant color. Remember, though, Medellín is different. Or at least that’s how it looks from afar/above. Once you look in more detail at the streets and actually walk them, however, you begin to see that color is actually everywhere…thanks to the artists who paint the walls.
Not all works of street art are paintings, of course. These two pieces of street art are both pasted paper. Both are references to the peace accord referendum that went on at the beginning of October, a vote on which the people of Colombia voted yes or no. The work on the left I later saw pasted in a couple other spots in the city.
In some areas of the city, entire blocks of walls are painted by various artists. Both images above were on the same little stretch of street, and they couldn’t be more different in tone.
Murals appear in unexpected places all over the city. Some of them are just images, some are just words, some are a mixture of the two. The top left image shows how the supporting poles under the metro system are painted to give color to the streets near the Botanical Garden. The top right, which says “feed the mind,” is near Parque San Antonio, where the Botero twin bird statues sit. The bottom right photo was actually taken through a little fence; all of the works are on the back of buildings cornering an empty lot. The bottom left is located in the neighborhood Comuna 13, and says “break the chain; fight for peace.”
The neighborhood Comuna 13 is particularly filled with gorgeous artworks. You can especially see this in the bottom right picture, which shows a stretch of street from a bit of a distance. This neighborhood is where escalators were put in place in an attempt to make the upper streets more easily accessible to pedestrians. (All photos on left except for the bird are courtesy of Marty McTigue.)
The pupi (that’s fancy/snobby in local speak) neighborhood that Marty and I stayed in had really windy streets, so every day we were discovering a new way to get home. The very last night we found the best path (of course), and saw all this amazing street art. The next day we returned just for pictures. Look at all these gorgeous works! Why can’t all streets of all cities be this beautiful?