As a great lover of colorful urban landscapes, I’ve traveled to many of the world’s most noted cities for street art. Berlin and Athens are two that immediately spring to mind. After visiting Colombia’s thriving capital, Bogota, several times over the past year, I would definitely add this high-altitude city set against a background of dramatic Andean peaks to a list of the world’s most interesting street art locations.
Sadly, Bogota’s street art scene was both accelerated and legitimized by a tragedy–the police shooting of a young graffiti artist, Diego Felipe Becerra, in 2011. The protests that followed Diego’s death resulted in the setting aside of city-sanctioned areas for street artists to paint. Of course, as street artists by nature tend to rebel against the establishment, there’s now street art spread over large areas of the cityscape, although there are specific neighborhoods with significant clusters of walls painted by both local and internationally-recognized street artists.
One of the best things about Bogota’s street art is that it’s so easily accessible to visitors who might otherwise have trouble navigating such a sprawling city. Simply by walking around the historic center, known as La Candelaria, and Chapinero Central–both tourist-friendly neighborhoods–visitors will pass by some of the city’s most arresting outdoor works.
Adjacent neighborhoods to the south and west of these areas also contain a wealth of street art, but many visitors may not feel safe walking around less-touristed areas alone. Personally, I would advise taking one of the official guided tours of the city’s street art. Allow some time after the tour for personal exploration.
In addition, there’s a very good book about Bogota’s street art scene by local, long-time expat teacher and author, Christopher Burke. While everyone won’t be as lucky as I was to receive a personal tour of Bogota’s street art conducted by the author himself, his book “Street Art Bogotá” is available on Amazon.
I’m also including Christopher’s WordPress.com site where he posts new creations he finds while searching Bogota’s culturally rich neighborhoods.
Note: All the street art scenes I’ve presented in this post can be found in the city center historic district of La Candelaria.