Category: Colombia, 2020

GRAFFITI – A STORY OF COMMUNITY CHANGE THROUGH ART

February 7.

Peaceful breakfast outside at the farm, overlooking coffee plantation and mountains, with birds chirping and small children walking by to go to school.

Brian drives us two hours to Medellín, through the central destination for representative street art in the rarely visited Comuna 1 located in the northeast of Medellin. The experience is created and led by the head of a youth collective of artists who are from and create art in these very neighborhoods, and the tour is exclusive to True Colombia Travel. True Graffiti is the next generation of Medellín cultural experiences.

 In Medellín, accompanied by our guide for the day, Laura, we take the city’s innovative and modern transit system up into one of the hillside favela-neighborhoods where the collective works and lives. The walk begins in the living Urban Museum of Memories, a giant mural display that tells the history of the creation of the neighborhood and both the ancestral and modern history of the inhabitants.

 From there we walk through the streets of the neighborhood hearing stories of what has happened in this impactful neighborhood over the last 50 years and how many of the dangerous “invisible borders” have been torn down.

 We observe how art has changed the lives of the members of the collective and how they are now training the barrio’s youth in these same art forms as a way to create sustainable change and avoid the same pitfalls of violence and PTSD that have affected many of their peers.

 We get a private explanation and are able to see performance art including singing, free-style hip hop and and break-dancing, all telling the story of violence, change, family, and love in the community. Carol and I guided by members of the cooperative design and create t-shirts for ourselves.

We take the cable car and tram back down and walk across to the botanic garden in which we had dinner to music night before last. We have a delicious lunch with Laura at the lovely botanic garden restaurant. Brian joins us at the end and drives us in the rain to our hotel, where he has already checked us in to our same presidential suite. Laura was totally delightful and engaging, living up to the standards we’d experienced with a Brian and Ana.

 Last time I was in Colombia, I had dinner at El Cielo, which is the most memorable meal I have ever had. I’ve been looking forward to going back there on this trip, and to showing it off to Carol, but with some sense of trepidation, because I did not know how it would fare on a repeat visit.. The set menus of “moments” are a playful and sumptuous take on Colombian food and fusion. The menu changes seasonally, concentrating on one region of the country while showing flashes of Colombia as a whole in every meal. We splurge and order the wine pairings. It as absolutely amazing. Neither Carol nor I is a foodie, but we both agreed that this was a dining experience unlike any other we’ve had, ending with the flaming rum drinks.

3 comments to GRAFFITI – A STORY OF COMMUNITY CHANGE THROUGH ART

  • Jeanzunkel@gmail.com

    I also love that restaurant.
    Not sure its for everyone but I loved it and the wine pairings.

  • Kathy Hornsby

    Hi Arnie and Carol! Just catching up on your Colombia travels and enjoying your editorial and photos. Thank you! And I will definitely go to El Cielo if I’m ever in the area. Looks fantastic!!!!

  • Kay Osborne

    Very interesting

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