The Street Art of La Paz

One thing that we loved about La Paz were the amazing murals that seemed to be just about everywhere you turned. If fact, most every town we have visited seems to have it’s own distinctive style of murals that help define the character of the town.

I see these as both a celebration of and commentary on the community. A common theme is to interleave locally relevant elements from nature, indigenous symbols and colonial history. At first glance each mural appears to be a simple figure from nature, but on closer examination each one contains its own microcosm of local history and/or social commentary.

Kristin and I really became enamored of the art that proliferates the town of La Paz, so much so that Kristin and her friend went on a long excursion though town discovering as much street art as the day would allow.

One of my favorites is the hermit crab on Calle Constitutión by Uli Martinez. I see so much in this piece but I’ll leave it up to the reader to find their own impression. The quote from Pablo Picasso written to the right of the image sums it up – “Art is a lie that leads us closer to the truth.”

bright colored mural of a giant hermit crab with a human figure inside holding up a small boat with 5 tourists taking photos of it

Another element to the murals is how well their placement fits with the surrounding environment. I love the way this mystical coyote made of an amalgam of local elements seems to be howling at the sea just beyond the building. If I stare at this long enough the building seems to disappear.

Another one of my favorites. I see this one as an Aztec SCUBA diver.

Colorful mural of a child-like figure in Aztec attire wearing a fish-shaped helmet and appearing to be sitting on the bottom of the ocean conversing with a fish

Aw, heck. They are all my favorites.

Colroful mural of a seal pup with fish, turtle, blue-footed boobie, and a dolphin emerging from a reef with a round globe-like bubble surrounding them

Some murals are huge, dominating an entire block.

Colorful mural of an octopus and a fish
Colorful mural of fish with a coyote superimposed
Colorful mural of a whale comprised of an amalgam of desert rocks, starfish, octopus and other creatures

Some murals are tiny. This one is perhaps only ten inches long.

Tiny mural of a whale made from an amalgam of fish and people with a skeleton riding a bicycle on its back

Some interplay with elements of the building.

Mural of dolphins leaping out of the bricks on the side of the building
Mural of a school of fish with a white outline of a bicycle superimposed
Mural of an owl with a donkey carrying packs

It took me quite some time before I noticed all of the fish and spirits in this one.

Mural of a golden eagle made from an amalgam of fish in a fisherman's net

The street art of La Paz was one of the many highlights of our visit. We hope that the town continues to support and cultivate local street artists. Their work provides a powerful way to connect with the spirit of the community.

Now that we know that other communities in Mexico also promote street art we will be on the lookout for street art in every town we visit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *