GRAFFITI IN COLOMBIA:
ART OR VANDALISM?
In Bogotá . . . it depends!
Bogotá has become famous for many things.
One lesser-known claim to fame
is its recent reputation for quality street art,
Internationally known graffiti artists in Bogotá
are receiving invitations from world capitals
(Berlin, Mexico City, Vancouver, Tokyo)
to create street art in their cities (for big $$, too.)
Most graffiti in Bogotá is confined to La Candelaria,
the oldest part of the city (400+ years)
and birthplace of modern Colombia (back in 1550)
where the streets are chaotic, narrow
and the walls blank canvasses for students & activists.
Bogotá's Office of Public Space treats graffiti as a "violation",
as opposed to America and Europe where graffiti is a "crime."
Bogotá police are forbidden to detain a graffiti artist, and
instead, evaluate if the art is high quality or should be erased.
Thus, much of the graffiti here is well done,
acceptable to the building owners (and local officials)
and "an acceptable vehicle for cultural expression,
or with a meaningful message."
(Notice the cobs on the corn stalk,
and the "coca is fashionable" message.)
In Bogotá, that's "acceptable" and "meaningful."
Oh . . . and an artist friend painted my name
on a wall in La Candelaria . . . "Rick" (en inglés!)