Wynwood Arts District Street Art Extravaganza

Going to Wynwood Arts District was a street art lovers dream! Art is everywhere! It was really magical. I took the bus from my hostel in South Beach where I was across the water and through some funky neighborhoods which brought up some issues of gentrification for me but still going to Wynwood was pretty awesome. I also visited Wynwood Walls which known of these are from, actually. Beyond the walls there are tons of tons of art. These were some of my favorites.

Street Art Tour: Cartagena, Colombia

If you ever get a chance to go to Cartagena, Colombia I hope that the street art tour is still happening. It’s done by an artist from Belgium living in Cartagena and it was incredible. I learned a lot about the history of Colombia, current politics in Cartagena and I got insight into the lives of street artists. And I saw incredible art.

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The tour was rich with history on every piece. I used a new app on my phone to take notes that I wasn’t familiar with and accidentally deleted everything I had written down.

So I will do my best to impart what I learned.

The tour took place in Getsmani, which the area just outside the historic district of Cartagena. It used to be a red light district and is now rapidly gentrifying because of tourism. In fact some of the art reflects that tug of war.

I present to you the first piece, which was the first stop on the tour and is an important place to start with the history of Colombia. It is a depiction of India Catalina by Findac, a well-known Irish street artist.

India Catalina was an indigenous woman who acted as an intermediary and interpreter during the Spanish conquest of Colombia. She married but she was a never was fully accepted by the Spanish nor was she still a part of her original community. She fled to Spain but she disappeared and likely murdered. There are statues of her in Cartagena, as she is now an icon for pre-Hispanic Colombia.

India Catalina by Findac
India Catalina by Findac

 

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The singer is Joey Arroyo, a famous salsa singer from Cartagena, most known for the song, “No le pegue a la negra” which means don’t hit the black woman. It’s a song about slavery and is part of the history Cartagena. The lyrics are intense, important and a great dance song.

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I went to a salsa bar in Cartagena and danced to this song with a local. It was magical to hear Joey Arroyo say Cartagena, while I was in Cartagena! A whole different meaning than dancing to it while in California.

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There is an interesting story with this mural. It was sponsored by a soda company. Apparently there was “vandalism” and the mural never included the product it was supposed to include. Or maybe the artist never put it in the first place. 🙂

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This building is for sale as many are trying to cash in on the value of changing Getsmani. It is likely that the mural will increase the value of the house.

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The sign was intended as street art and is not a for sale sign.

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More political conversation.

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Street art in Getsemani has tried to bring the conversation of gentrification and environmentalism together such as in this painting.

Join the journey–

Street Art of Santa Theresa, Rio de Janeiro

Santa Theresa is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro. Compared to modern neighborhoods like Copacabana and Ipanema, it is ornate, spray painted and much of it could be considered run down–but it has a unique to itself charm.

According to my Airbnb Santa Theresa host, it began as a convent on the hill and grew as people sought better air and more vegetation. Favelas grew up around it and it lost in popularity till about seven years ago. If you go to Rio, it’s right next to a neighborhood named Lapa which you’ll definitely want to visit as Lapa is known for its samba clubs.

When I first saw the old streets and amount of graffiti, I was unsure about the safety but my host assured me it was fine but to mind the usual safety precautions like keeping your cell phone tucked away. One evening my host, her little boy and I walked up the hill and I was entranced by the tropical air and old buildings.

Enjoy the photo collage of buildings and street art/graffiti.

Brazilian Music and Dance Coming Full Circle at Carnival in Salvador, Brazil

It’s been more than twenty years since I stumbled into my first encounter with Brazilian dance. It was 1992 or 1993 in Santa Cruz, California and spontaneously I attended a performance of Brazilian dance at Louden Nelson Center. Immediately I knew it was something I was interested in. I still remember seeing Conceição Damaseco dance samba beautifully in a white outfit that evening. Continue reading “Brazilian Music and Dance Coming Full Circle at Carnival in Salvador, Brazil”

Signs of the Orixa in Salvador and Little Havana (Photos)

The Orixa are the gods, deities and elements of Candomblé, Santeria, Macumba and other religions all descending from the Yorba people of Nigeria. I got to see signs of the Orixa in both Brazil and in Miami (via Cuba) in Little Havana during my trip to South America this spring.

Orixa on the Lake in Salvador, Brazil
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Orixa on Sarongs in the Pelerinho, Salvador Brazil
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Yemaya Tile, Calle Ocho Miami
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Ogun Tile, Calle Ocho Miami
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Obatala Tile, Calle Ocho Miami
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Babalu-aye Tile, Calle Ocho Miami
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Ochun Tile, Calle Ocho, Miami

Things that I love so far about Rio de Janeiro

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1. My body type is well represented on the beach. Lots of women in bikinis with butts, rolls, tummies and dimples and not a care in the world.

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2. Eating grilled shrimps on the beach. They bring ’em by on skewer for about a $1.75. Com limon? Sim, por favor.

3. Obtaining many things on the beach without leaving your chair: sarongs, nuts, piece of grilled cheese (they come by with a little cooker and grill it with oregano right there), capirinhas (Brazilian margarita), cerveja (beer), sunglasses, whistles, bikinis, Arabic food…I had really good Arabic pies today with cheese, a vegetable, chicken. The list goes on…

4. Even the hallway of my Airbnb is interesting — a neighbor was playing great samba music on a Tuesday afternoon and I could have just sat on the cool floor and listened…

Continue reading “Things that I love so far about Rio de Janeiro”

Tomorrow (Amanhã) I go to Brazil

Tomorrow I fly to Brazil and a desire 20 years in the making, will be no longer a someday.

For over 10 years I was a samba dancer. I discovered Brazilian dance in a performance one night in the early 90’s in my first year Santa Cruz, CA and I was enthralled. I started taking classes, eventually doing student recitals and performing with a Seattle dance troupe. I formed a close relationship with many things Brazilian, especially the music.

But that wasn’t entirely where my fascination with Brazil started. Before I found Samba Reggae, Samba de Roda and the dances of the Orixa there was Wild Orchid.

You remember that eighties movie with Mickey Rourke and Carre Otis? Yeah that one. It was set and filmed in Brazil. I know what you might be thinking: silly story, poor acting and while at the time we, the spawn of the Baby Boomers, speculated that Carre Otis and Mickey Rourke (an actual couple) were really having sex in the final love scene. Later that was replaced by the awareness that she was abused in the relationship so that pretty much cancelled any romantic feelings we might have had about how it all went down with the cameras rolling.

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I still like that cheesy film and consider it formative. I’ve wanted to make my close friends watch it with me on my birthday. There’s not much of genuine Brazil in Wild Orchid but there are few scenes that helped propel an erotic sentiment for me about the country.

But it’s not too hard to have an erotic feeling about Brazil. We have Miss America and they have the National “Bunda” crown (Portuguese for ass). If you were a child of the Eighties then you also remember the Lambada and how it was also called the Forbidden dance. I’ve danced the Lambada, it’s just a partner dance where your legs are entwined.

I am nervous to travel to Brazil. I’ve watched YouTube videos about how to be safe while traveling there (leave your valuables at home) and have seen the violent film City of God. But since Brazil and I have something going already I know it will be okay.

I got my visa here in Lima, Peru (on the fly!) so that must be a sign.

Ingredients for a Perfect Trip

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The phrase that keeps coming to me is ingredients–not stuff–but I have been obsessed with stuff for days.

I wanted to get it just right. The right amount of style and comfort. The right amount of essentials that weren’t too big or lacking and would keep me healthy while on the road.

I’m en route as I write this and just arrived as I publish and edit. It’s pretty clear that my pack is too heavy but its too late for that now.

The prudent thing to do is to test the weight of your pack before you leave. This I know but I didn’t over pack so it wasn’t going to be too heavy, right? I had a lot to do before I left but I was also spending time obsessing with ingredients for a perfect trip and maybe not always the right ones. I’ll be honest here: I put a lot of energy a specific pair of shoes that in the final hour I had to ask my housemate to return for me and not nearly enough time into essential travel planning.

Some of my preparations were practical: the right beauty products for my hair and skin that would save space and weight (in theory), the right ‘friggin toothpaste ( not to big, not too small, not too much sodium lauryl sulfate) and the right amount of pills. Working in the natural products industry for 20 years I pride myself on being able to know how to support my body with supplements in any given moment. But I brought a lot of pills but it’s my first day here and I’m going to try to hit the Chinatown here for some additional gastrointestinal support I didn’t bring.

I splurged on Mp3 music right before I  left. A huge music list that I had been cultivating for over a year now on Amazon which deserves its own blog post. I rarely buy music. I often fall for songs but suffer YouTube when I want to listen to them. I could have waited and spent that money on travel necessities, like hotel or restaurants. What if someone steals my crappy mp3 player from 2008? The good thing about that is that the music is all backed up at home on my computer and hard drive.

I wanted everything to be how I wanted it to be—the soundtrack of my happy moments with me. It’s already been great. It’s like I have my good friends of the last year with me.

In the end it’s never really perfect and you have to go with the flow and what you have control of rather then what you don’t.

But here’s hoping…

A lot really does work out in the end.

My favorite Bay Area Street Artists: Allyn Mags

One of my favorite Bay area based street art teams is Amanda Lynn and Lady Mags. When they work together they combine their names to make Allyn Mags. They are responsible for the epic mural (shown below) in San Francisco at 8th and Market St .

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To learn more about Allyn Mags and the making of that mural, watch the Jansport sponsored series on YouTube. It’s really awesome! I highly recommend this series on these women artists. The first one is about them and then the following videos go into the making of the mural.

I got to live in Oakland near some of their work which you can see below or in person on the east side of Lake Merritt:

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Follow Amanda Lynn @alynnpaint and Lady Mags @ladymags on Instagram.