“Art is an evolutionary act. The shape of art and its role in society is constantly changing. At no point is art static. There are no rules.”
― Raymond Salvatore Harmon,
Getsemaní used to be known for drugs and crime, and was far from the cultural epicenter of Cartagena, Colombia that it now represents. Getsemaní has emerged from a complicated past and evolved into a burgeoning barrio complete with a live music scene and an artistic community spirit.
Recently with revitalization, this once seedy neighborhood has become the coolest, most authentic, and colorful part of Cartagena. These murals represent new issues that are plaguing Getsemani, such as racial segregation, gentrification and increasing tourism. I was in photographer’s heaven. Join me as we roam the vibrant street art of Getsemaní while the art unveils itself.
Amazing portrait of a homeless man who sleeps on the sidewalk below this wall.
The area where Cartagena stands today was originally inhabited by the Calamari people that dominated the Caribbean coast of Colombia from the borders of Panama up into La Guajira. This mural represents the beauty of the indigenous people.
Rodrigo Valdez is a former boxer from Cartagena, Colombia who was a two-time world middleweight champion and former undisputed middleweight champion of the world whose rivalry with Carlos Monzón has long been considered among the most legendary boxing rivalries.
This massive colorful mural by Colombian artist DEXS is impossible to miss if you walk on Calle de la Sierpe.
One of the muralists chose to celebrate the famous Salsa singer Joe Arroyo.
For a few blocks near the Plaza de la Santísima Trinidad in the Getsemaní neighborhood of Cartagena, Colombia, the legend of Pedro Romero lives. On the streets surrounding the plaza and its church, elaborate works of street art adorn the walls paying tribute to Pedro Romero, the hero of Cartagena’s independence movement for the people of Getsemaní.
Getsmaní is not only a fascinating cultural center, but an artist’s paradise. This little orange guy has a bottle of spray paint in one hand and seems to be very happy to be in Cartagena.
Daydreaming. Notice the arm transformed into a serpent.
This is one of my favorite murals. Two species of turtles, the Hawksbill and the Green turtle have severely declined in past decades due to the use of fishing nets, contaminated oceans, and hunting for their meat, shells, and eggs. Cartagena has a three-day event where they release turtles that have been protected since birth to promote the conservation of the animals that are in danger of extinction.
Street artist Yurika took inspiration from a traditional story told to her by an old lady living close to the plaza. As the story goes, in olden times, the neighborhood was populated not only by humankind but by exotic animals too, like the vivid bird named Maria Mulata. The exotic multi-colored birds with harmonious song came to the rescue when the town was enveloped in flames and helped carry the local people to the city limits in their beaks. But flying back and forth through the smoke and soot the Maria Mulatas lost their colorful feathers and were blackened afterwards. The villagers were saved and forever grateful to Maria Mulata. On bright days, locals can still see the brilliant colors in the bird’s black plumage. To see how it was made, go to the artist’s page here.
Amazingly, we found very few stray dogs in Cartagena. The dogs we did see were well fed and always on leashes.
Cartagena has a feral cat population, like Granada, Nicaragua. The feral cats form a rooftop community, which can become a nuisance for the residents of the city. They are undertaking a massive campaign to spay the feral females of the city to control the population.
Papillon in Spanish means butterfly or moth, but I definitely see a cat lady.
Looking for love? The family is the best.
I think that Mi Kartacho is a nickname for my Cartagena. The mural depicts the history of Cartagena with cannonballs, a cannon, and the clock tower.
Magical Cartagena. If you look closely in the lower left hand corner, you see “pray for Paris”. A traditional Palenquera is a vendor who sells fruit.
An emblematic Palenquera at rest with a bowl of fruit atop her head… as can be seen for real on the streets of Cartagena.
The fishermen of Cartagena cast their nets into the sea.
Then, there is this yellow fellow. He looks like something right out of Ghostbusters.
Getsemaní is a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues and evolution of murals depicting characters and events of significance to the area.
YO! Wandering up and down the colorful streets exploring the vivid urban art against the backdrop of faded 18th century architecture, Yo ( I ) am hooked on Getsemaní. This experience proves to me that …