Graffiti: Captured for the Camera in Cali

While travelling in the Colombian Andes earlier this year, I was sometimes blown away by the street art that I came across.  I’d think: Colombian cities provide amazing street gazing opportunities.

Graffiti acts as a visual stimulant.  Painted street decoration can induce thought and introspection.  Sometimes the messages are clear.  But more often, they leave you wondering while you’re wandering along.

I haven’t studied Colombian history intensely.  It’s common knowledge that there’s been turmoil.  Although I find current Colombia to be as safe as anywhere I’ve been, I imagine that many people hold deep sentiments from years of civil war.

The mental scars are harder to see than the physical ones.

Maybe Colombia’s recent strife has inspired creativity.

The following graffiti photos were taken on the streets of the district of San Antonio, in the city of Cali, Colombia.


I really like this one by Letos.   To me it looks like two wise souls sharing life.  I don’t know  what the male to the right is putting in his mouth.  Spaghetti?  Noodles? A worm? The two faces seem to evoke natural human vibes.  Do you have any thoughts on this one?  Please leave a comment if you do.

There’s lot that can be interpreted.  Interestingly, the man to the left is spraying Piensa Natural or Natural Thought into his neck.   He points to the side of his blood stained brow.  Real Sudacas is written at the top.  I’ve been told by South Americans that the derogatory term sudaca means South American person in Spain.  At the top right it appears as if the artist has drawn a picture of himself smiling with a brush.  Beside his pony tail you see the word unidad or unity.  Perhaps the piece is to express the idea of equality.  I welcome that idea and wish us all luck.  But what’s with the thought sprayComments are welcome.

A Roof For My Country:  Maybe this is to show that the majority of Colombians feel sheltered because it’s very hard for them to get visas to go abroad.   Maybe there’s a desire for protection. It’s also  difficult for the average person to do more than live hand to mouth.   Perhaps the person or people who created this art feel that their land gets bad publicity in the rest of the world.  Or, maybe the artist is stating that his country needs a roof or some sort of help.  I honestly don’t know.  What do you think.  Please feel free to comment.

This is a tough one.  I see a mutant grinning at a skull-petalled flower.  The flower’s energy is pushing a little demon back.  Any ideas about this wild creativity.  Feel free to leave a comment.

This one looks like a beefy-hybrid-dog robot.   The last two words translate to horrible or horrific thing.  I don’t know what the first word coldsa means.  Perhaps this one depicts that the future might be a scary place.  If you have any thoughts on this one I’d love to read your comment.

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Do you think graffiti and murals are good for a city?   Feel free to leave a comment below.  If you have an opinion on a specific piece of street art, click on the comment link for the respective photo. 


4 responses to this post.

  1. Wow, great murals/graffiti. It’s hard to speculate, with regard to meaning – I wonder if the locals could provide some context that would be helpful? Regardless, art is subjective and I like your interpretation of the one by Letos; who is that, btw?


    • ADIRONDACKER: Great idea! I’m sure that locals there could have been able to provide some insight. It appears as if Letos signed his or her name by the holding hands in the two wise souls mural.


  2. Posted by rae on June 23, 2012 at 18:53

    These are great, Mike. Thanks for sharing the photos and your thoughts on them!


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