Followers of this blog will be well aware of my liking for graffiti and given the opportunity I will snap away missing all the “important” tourist attractions when I go on a break. I am happy to report that the urban graffiti scene is alive and kicking in Popayan, Cauca, Colombia.
One would expect Bogota to have a great amount of graffiti as the thriving and effervescent capital city, but Popayan, given her huge student population was a refreshing and interesting urban street-side gallery. As you can well imagine, this graffiti is overwhelmingly politically motivated and very creative, and the expanses of whitewashed walls in Popayan make the perfect canvas.
Popayan was an incredibly attractive destination for a few days away from it all in Bogota but while I was fascinated by the history and architecture, it is important to remember the political upheaval in this region, in particular with the Paro Agrario in 2013. In fact, Popayan has been barricaded from the world with three blockades this year.
Presumably there is plenty of inspiration for political graffiti in Cauca given the negative press in 2013. Colombian military hueys swoop along the valley on reconnaissance missions and the military is a constant presence along the highways and beside bridges between here and Cali.
So, it was a refreshing break from the capital and also an eye opening experience to see such fantastic urban artwork in a colonial city. Keep checking back and tuning in to my radio show since I am planning to have a “forum” on graffiti on Colombia Calling soon with a Bogota artist, an International artist and a documentary maker all taking part.