Photo Essay: Street Art in Oaxaca

by Ekua on October 12, 2011 in captured on memory card,Mexico,race/culture/identity,street art

Stencil art, paintings, wheatpastes, stickers, and plain old graffiti found while roaming the streets of Oaxaca:

A Jimi Hendrix sticker pasted on a street sign.

Kudos to anyone who can explain this one to me.

I noticed several of these images in different locations throughout town during my time in Oaxaca.

A depiction of Emiliano Zapata, a leader during the Mexican Revolution. His name was later taken on by the Zapatista Army of National Resistance, the revolutionary group in Chiapas that rose up in the mid-90s.

A police monkey. The artist’s message is self explanatory.

I spotted this on a wall of someone’s private residence. I think it’s the coolest painting of La Virgen de Gaudalupe that I’ve seen thus far.

Partially scraped off, but still effective.

Another Love Klan stencil image. I thought the juxtaposition of the street art message and the “peligro” tape (the equivalent of caution tape in the United States) blowing in the wind in front of it was interesting.

It was unexpected to see an image of a woman with an afro and African features in Oaxaca.

A wall covered with various stencil art images and various messages.

A close up of some the stencil art lining the top of the wall.

Just some random graffiti.

Undoubtedly a favorite. I like the combination of photograph-like faces with wonky limbs and colorful blobs for bodies.

This mural is called “Juguemos Juntos” (Let’s Play Together) and it was painted as part of a Oaxaca cultural event in in May 2011 that discussed and celebrated the culture of people of African descent in the states of Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Guerrero.

I remember walking this way a year before and it was covered with murals. This summer it was covered with artsy graffiti. Street art is fleeting and that’s one reason why I like to capture it with my camera.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Isaac Ohel October 13, 2011 at 5:20 am

Good job on capturing the graffiti, and on the blog in general.


Ekua October 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm



Phil October 13, 2011 at 9:07 am

These are so awesome. Great photos. I love street art. San Francisco actually blew me away with its street art, specifically in the mission. Can’t wait to go back! And one day, I will make it to Mexico. Your site has definitely been inspiring in that regard.


Ekua October 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm

So I’m guessing you discovered some of the Mission’s mural alleys? I think the combination of Mexican culture and urban American culture makes for some really great street art in SF! I’m glad I’m inspiring you to make a Mexico trip – I think you would enjoy it there.


Globetrottergirls October 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Fantastic street art! I didn’t remember that Oaxaca had such creative graffitis when we were there last year.


Ekua October 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I definitely saw more this year than last. Street art seems to be a fledgling culture in Oaxaca. I think it has roots in the 2006 uprising. It will be interesting to see how it evolves! I think street artists there have a lot to work with if they incorporate elements of traditional Oaxacan culture into the modern street art aesthetic.


Fly Girl October 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Great pix! Street art reveals so much about a place. I love the Jimi photo and the African woman. Mexico acknowledged the African part of the country’s heritage years ago but it’s not always this visible.


Ekua October 17, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Thanks. The Afro-Mexican culture in the state of Oaxaca was more on my mind this year. I’ve known about African culture in Veracruz for awhile, but I didn’t realize there was a community in Oaxaca state until I watched Black in Latin America! The Costa Chica definitely needs to make it onto my itinerary for my next visit to Oaxaca.


carrie olshan January 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

one of my favorite art forms in one of my favorite cities! love this post


Ekua January 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Thanks, this was one of my favorite groups of photos to put together!


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