I absolutely L<3VE street art. Always have, always will. It adds beauty and interest to every neighborhoods lucky enough to have it. It is no coincidence then that some of my favorite places in the world are public canvases people happen to live on or around.
Oaxaca and Teotitlan more than satisfy my penchant for public art. Street art, both professional and gorilla, is everywhere. I find myself constantly stopping to snap pictures of the amazing murals I pass by. When visiting our weavers in Teotitlan, I stay in the city of Oaxaca and walk everywhere! On our last trip, I literally walked a hole in a brand new pair of shoes, and, let me tell you, finding a size 9 women’s shoe in southern Mexico is an adventure in itself – but I digress.
What really interests me about the street art in this part of the world is it is often used to teach a lesson or convey a social message of some sort. For instance, this mural on the main street through Teotitlan says that girls and boys have the right to an equal life.
This mural is fairly self-explanatory and says, “The solution is in your hands, prevent contamination.” A very important message in a community still using the small stream running through town for washing clothes and watering animals and gardens.
Other murals in town warn against domestic violence and tuberculosis (still a problem in rural Mexico). I really admire the use of public art as a tool for teaching.
Some are more poetic but still encourage you to think. This is one of my favorites. The text translates roughly as:
“I guard in tact
the memory of this moment
that all that exists
will return the same”
The painting featured in this mural is super strange, and I love it! There is nothing better than street art that literally makes you stop in your tracks to admire and think. This mural forces me to stop and contemplate it every time I pass it by.
And when lessons and philosophical musings are just not enough for me, there is always plenty of street art that is simply beautiful, interesting, and, in its own unique, Mexican way, crazy hip.
Here are two of my very favorites from Oaxaca and Teotitlan respectively. I freely admit I often choose my path through these towns so that I may pass these beautiful pieces. They make me smile. And that is the second best thing a piece of street art can do.
Oaxaca has my heart. It attacks all my senses. The juxtaposition of colonial architecture and modern street murals is one of the most aesthetically pleasing aspects of this amazing place. I am constantly grateful for the opportunity to spend time in this intriguing and beautiful land.