Interesting Street Art in Small Towns of Colombia

During our overland trip through Colombia, we found a lot of amazing street art in truly unexpected places: along highways, in hidden rural hamlets, and in small towns, which are often not marked on maps. Most of these murals will never been seen by the ‘average traveller’; we discovered them due to our preference for taking the back roads, usually away from the highlights listed in most guidebooks.

A colourful street art gallery with examples of murals we found in rural regions and small towns of Colombia. Beautiful motifs adorning public spaces.

A colourful street art gallery with examples of murals we found in rural regions and small towns of Colombia. Beautiful motifs adorning public spaces.

Our latest street art post opens the door to a number of interesting questions:

What is street art?

Is it an urban phenomenon, strongly rooted in the subculture of cities?

Obviously not (anymore), as this post shows that urban art has now reached the countryside; it has outgrown its confinement to chic-shabby corners of large metropolitan centres.

Is street art the same as graffiti?

These are often mixed up by the general public. In the artists’ view, there is a clear distinction. The term ‘graffiti’ refers to a style of elaborate writing, often seen in so-called ‘tags’. Street art always incorporates some form of imagery.

Although, in Latin America, and particularly in Colombia, they seem to be interchangeable. You hear guides talk about graffiti when they’re obviously standing in front of a street art mural.

While graffiti artists place their work in public, generally speaking they are not interested in the public understanding their work; they want to speak to other graffiti artists. Street artists want everyone to view and be engaged by their work. They are trying to make a statement.
Quoted from a worthwhile article to read on the topic ‘graffiti versus street art’ .

Once you let the above statement sink in, you will understand why street art isn’t necessarily confined to the urban environment.

Is street art always painted or sprayed onto walls?

In our definition, the boundaries are becoming more fluid. For us any visual two-dimensional art*) in a public place, is some form of street art.
If you can see it from a street and it’s on a wall then we call it street art.

*) I’m using the term ‘two-dimensional’ to distinguish from sculpture and other forms of century-old public art. Although, in a way, you could call them ‘Street Art’ too.

Besides spray paint and stencils, more and more street artists are starting to use other media to create their work, e.g. mosaic tiles. So we have included some full tile mosaics and other tile work in this gallery. To the viewer, it doesn’t matter if these art pieces are considered by purists as ‘street art’ or not. There are some excellent examples at the end of this post, which certainly blur the lines.

Has street art become a tourist attraction?

Yes and no. In large municipalities it certainly appears so, by the numerous ‘street art tours’ offered in many city centres. Small towns often install a mural or several, to beautify their town centre and make it more attractive. But most street art is still created by artists eager to show off their work in public places, and to contribute to making the street scape more colourful.


Please click thumbnails below for a larger photo with description. Photos in order from south to north.

One street art wall in Manizales.


When I started choosing photos for this post, I had the idea that a “Street Art in Colombia” post would be our last country specific entry about our 4 years in South America, apart from our series “Overlanding in …” (which isn’t finished yet). But I quickly realised that we have so many photos, I could limit this one to images from small towns and rural regions of Colombia.

An interesting aspect of the street art found in rural regions and small towns of Colombia, is that you see many more motifs referring to the indigenous heritage of the country, or scenes depicting nature in its various forms – either birds (often symbolising ‘freedom’), or daily life in the country (farming).

We have already published two posts about our amazing experience with the “Storytellers’ Street Art Tour of Comuna 13” in Medellin, and two galleries from Bogota – one limited to Candelaria , and a second one from outside the city centre . Now I have enough photos left to add the “real final post”, covering street art in the cities of Medellin and Cartagena. So stay tuned; I’ll post this soon!

Are you on Pinterest?
A colourful street art gallery with examples of murals we found in rural regions and small towns of Colombia. Many of these beautiful motifs refer to the indigenous heritage of the country, or show scenes depicting nature in its various forms – either birds (often symbolising 'freedom'), or daily life in the country (farming). See our post for all 33 photos!

Liked this? PIN this!

 

Juergen

webmaster, main photographer & driver, second cook and only husband at dare2go.com. Freelance web designer with 20 years of experience at webbeetle.com.au

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Wow these shots are brilliant Juergen. Eye-popping. I like your distinction between street art and graffiti too. Sometimes I mix up each when both are separate really. Fab post dude.

    Ryan

    • Juergen says:

      Thanks for flattering me. And of course all the street artists who provided the beautiful motifs, without which this post wouldn’t have been possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

There will be more great content like this! On our Facebook Page you can also keep up with where we are and see the latest photos from our journey.
So why not follow us?

Send this to a friend