Cartagena Street Art - The walls of Getsemani
It should come as no surprise that the troubled years of the FARC uprising and the unrest unleashed by the drug barons, together with the recent peace deal which remains controversial for many Colombians, is all most powerfully expressed in an extraordinary variety of street artworks, particularly in Bogota and Medellin. Perhaps it is the sunny climate, but In Cartagena the street art is wide ranging depicting all sorts of images and people.
Getsemani is the district immediately adjacent to the main historic centre, outside the walled city, which not so long ago had a reputation as a gritty, down-at-heal neighbourhood of poor housing, violence and indeed some streets were no-go areas even for locals. This has all changed, but the area has not succumbed to the downside of gentrification. The buildings are still faded and the locals all sit outside the front of their houses playing chess and dominoes on lazy Sunday afternoons. This is the best place to capture the real essence of old-style Cartagena.
It is also an area of bohemian cafes and colourful palenqueras, ladies of African decent who carry bowls of fruit on their heads which they cut up and sell to tourists. But it is the street art that makes Getsemani such an interesting place to spend a morning, and this is something which will appeal equally to all ages. The images are not just of socio-political issues but equally encompass tropical beaches, interesting faces and local flora and fauna.
Undoubtedly, the best way to view this art is on a walking tour with a local artist as your guide. But if you are travelling with your family including children, the best bit comes at the end when you are presented with a blank canvas set up in a private courtyard of the modern art museum and under expert guidance, create you very own masterpiece. Despite initial reservations it is a delight to see all generations become completely immersed in the work, something which no-one will forget.