All over La Paz you can find graffiti, mostly consisting of political slogans or tags, scribbled haphazardly over every available surface. Among and beside these are works of beauty, whimsy, surrealism and child-like humor: in European, indigenous, American and intergalactic styles.
The relatively wealthy neighborhood of Sopocachi is a mix of cultures, diverse cafés and restaurants, and quirky shops. This is the perfect setting for an original mix of fantastically colorful street art, some commissioned, some not.
Most of these works are found on Calle Ecuador and 20 de Octubre. Also, the tunnel connecting Sopocachi and San Pedro is a continuously changing mural that’s worth a look, despite the dust and smog from the zooming cars.
Valparaiso is simultaneously one of the most beautiful and one of the dirtiest cities we’ve visited. Houses are built all higgeldy-piggeldy on steep hills, covered in scrap metal and paint leftover from the shipping industry. The uneven pavements are covered in dog poo and creakingly old or out of service funiculars make getting around both a pleasure and a pain.
But the really magical thing about Valparaiso is the street art. It seemed like every surface that could be decorated, was decorated. The reason for this, I learnt on a walking tour of the city, was to discourage taggers from vandalizing property. If a house or shop has a planned piece, or mural, it’s respected and left alone. If a wall is just painted a block of colour, it becomes a blank canvas just asking for taggers to use.
I took so many photos it was hard choosing which ones to use for this photo essay. What in any other city would have been super cool became just average in Valparaiso. These are some of my favourites.