Why Graffiti in Bogotá Is Legal and Special
Bogotá is PACKED with street art. You can’t go to a neighborhood without seeing graffiti – murals, tags as well as stickers. Street art is EVERYWHERE!
The Justin Bieber graffiti scandal
While big artists from all over the world leave their mark here, it was a pop stars’ piece that caused a scandal:
Whereas no other than Justin Bieber was escorted by police to leave his mark, two years earlier, 16 year old Diego Felipe Becerra was shot dead by cops while painting a wall. Understandably, the graffiti community was outraged and organized a protest in form of a 24h graffiti fest where they – obviously – covered the Biebs’ Canadian flag with a marijuana instead of a maple leave inside.
Now back to more important things:
Why is Bogotá such a hub for street artists?
Because here, you’ll only be fined if you’re caught instead of jailed, as it is common in other countries – so it’s sort of legal. Also, if you get he owners permission to paint his/her wall, you’re good to go!
If you still have to spray illegally, a guide of Bogotá’s free graffiti tour claimed you can get out of paying a fine by pretending you don’t speak Spanish or that you’re “a famous foreigner with a website.”
Women & street art
A lot of women street artists are also featured on Bogotá’s walls, but still not much, because many of them are afraid of being assaulted by men, especially at night.
Graffiti & politics
Graffiti in Bogotá is also very political and artists express their opinion about the country’s corrupt government through their art.
How to best explore street art in Bogotá
If you just want to look at graffiti, walk around the Candelaria neighborhood especially or drive along freeways where huge amazing pieces add lots of colors to the gray streets.
If you want to learn more about artists, styles, politics and see some great pieces of local and international artists etc., I can recommend the free daily graffiti tour at 10 a.m and 2 p.m. Disclaimer: I’m not in any way affiliated with them.
Did you know that Bergen in Norway also has some amazing street art? Check out some images here.
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