MEDELLÍN, COLOMBIA — This is one city where life truly does imitate art. Where events are inspired by the creative artwork that appears on Medellín’s public walls, in its regal galleries and museums and its handsome Old Town squares.
In fact, you could say Medellín is an art lover’s paradise.
Everywhere you look in this picture-perfect city that sits in the bosom of the stunning Aburrá Valley and surrounded on all sides by the jagged Andes, art looks back.
Not surprising, considering Medellín is the birthplace of internationally acclaimed artist Fernando Botero, whose unique paintings and sculptures are displayed in the Old Town plaza that bears his name, and across the street in the Museo de Antioquia Museo de Antioquia.
Above: Botero's exaggerated art leaves people both bemused and bewildered.
Botero, who depicts people in his paintings and sculptures in exaggerated volume, is held in great esteem in his native Colombia, where art history stretches back 3,500 years.
However, the most creative works are actually found in Medellín’s notorious barrios and comunas, once ruled by the drug lords who terrorized this now state-of-the-art city for decades.
The public works on display in those districts were created by artists who would sneak out of their homes between gun fights and capture the story of horrific neightbourhood events in their museum-worthy murals.
Above: The city's public art is just as impressive as anything you'll see in a museum.
Some, especially the spectacular collection in Comuna 13, the most infamous of the barrios, are remarkable works and have now been transferred on to posters that hang in homes around the world.
The beauty and emotional power of Medellín’s barrio wall art is something that words just cannot describe.
One visit will convince you that Medellín really has its artistry down to a fine art.