Graffiti abounds in Quito. Long cement walls make perfect canvases for graffiti artists and there are many to be found in this big city. The quality of art differs from place to place but a few locations offer excellent examples of what graffiti has come to be in South America – both a political statement and a work of art. However, not everyone is a fan and entire collections can disappear overnight.
Earlier this summer, I photographed a particularly well-known wall on the corner of 6 de Diciembre and Portugal. I left for a month. When I returned, I was shocked to find the wall painted a bright white. When graffiti in London disappears, it can likely show up at auction, especially if it is a piece by the famous Banksy. But here in Ecuador, little attention is paid the complete erasure of potentially valuable pieces.
In fact, news reports are more focused on a team of graffiti grammar experts than they are on the disappearance of entire art collections. If the works shown below had needed a little red lettering to make them understandable, perhaps they wouldn’t have so easily disappeared.
Angie is a freelance writer and photographer who can't get enough of South America. The lesser-known the destination, the more she wants to visit. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon and dreams of her next trip to Ecuador.
These are really great. So much thought goes in to these expressions of our times. I condone good graffiti.
Me too! South America is filled with walls meant to separate rich from poor, the people off the street from the people on the street. The artwork serves to hide the ugliness of so many of those walls – ironically, good graffiti can both make those walls disappear while calling attention to their existence.