Colombia: the graffiti Mecca

00021004_bigA man tours a graffiti exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, in Bogotá, Colombia. The city-run museum recently held an exhibition highlighting the work of Bogota street artists who go by aliases such as Joems and the MonsTruacioN collective. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

00021003_bigA man rides past a wall painted by street artists, in Bogotá, Colombia. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

00021005_bigA car speeds past backdropped by overpass supports covered with street art, in Bogotá, Colombia. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

00021006_bigStreet artists paint a mural of late writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez on the side of a building, in Bogotá, Colombia. The city also recently commissioned, at a cost of around $10,000, an eight-story-high depiction of the late Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

00021007_bigA man rides on a cycle path past walls painted with graffiti and murals, in Bogotá, Colombia. Murals in Bogotá grew in part out of tragedy, when police shot and killed graffiti artist Diego Felipe Becerra in 2011 as he painted his trademark Felix the Cat. Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro responded by decriminalizing graffiti painting and even offered several public buildings as canvases. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

00021008_bigA mural blankets a church wall in Bogotá, Colombia. Street art has subsequently exploded across the city of 8 million. By one count, there are now more than 5,000 large paintings on walls or the sides of buildings, many now well-known to the tourists who sign up for guided graffiti tours on bicycle. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

00021009_bigA woman tours a graffiti exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, Colombia. Colombia’s capital is a mecca for graffiti artists, from established artists promoted on city tours that paint murals to clandestine groups that vindicate spray painting’s roots as a form of social protest roots. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

0002100a_bigA man walks his dog next to a mural depicting former President Álvaro Uribe, in Bogotá, Colombia. Bogotá’s laissez-faire attitude toward graffiti contrasts with that in many other Latin American cities. Buenos Aires, Argentina, last year raised penalties for street art, which it considers to be vandalism. In the Peruvian capital of Lima, the mayor this month had city workers cover up several down murals by graffiti artists. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

0002100b_bigA mural of a boy holding an instrument, with a message that reads in Spanish; “Art for life”, covers a wall in downtown Bogotá, Colombia. Monkeys and butterflies spray-painted in bright colors pay homage to the country’s natural beauty and provide welcome relief amid the Andean capital’s gray skies and monochromatic red brick architecture. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

0002100c_bigA man rides past a wall with a mural of Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, left, in Bogotá, Colombia. Colombia’s capital is a mecca for graffiti artists, from established artists promoted on city tours that paint murals to clandestine groups that vindicate spray painting’s roots as a form of social protest roots. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)

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