BARRANQUILLA, Colombia – With murals on the main avenues, visual artists in the Colombian city of Barranquilla are paying tribute to thousands of heroes who during the COVID-19 pandemic have faced a virus that to date has killed more than 25,000 people in this country.
Within the framework of the Barranquilla-Killart-International Urban Art Festival, artists have adorned the city, including the Ernesto Cortissoz Airport, the Gran Malecon along the oceanfront and the traditional Via 40 with their colorful murals.
Currently, Barranquilla residents are enjoying 65 murals painted by local urban artists, with this type of creative expression being fostered with an eye toward beautifying local social and cultural environments, not to mention the fact that they are also tourist draws.
Norella Mariut Magdaniel, a visual artist who painted the “Heroes of the Pandemic” mural, emphasized the importance of creating more spaces for art in the city, adding that this type of event helps Barranquilla to grow.
“When people come across a work of art on the street, it changes that moment, it changes their lives and to be part of this change is incredible, it seems to me,” she said, adding that her work seeks to thank and commemorate all the efforts of the medical personnel who are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barranquilla Mayor Jaime Pumarejo said that this kind of urban art makes the city more attractive for visitors and local residents.
“Every time I go out walking and see each place we’re putting art into, it makes me notice the value of artistic expression, expression that shows us how we live as a city, as a country and what many of the young people who are making cultural creations are feeling,” he said.
Meanwhile, the city’s cultural secretary, Maria Teresa Fernandez, said that the City Hall’s support for Killart means “continuing to give support to events that have been building the city’s agenda.”
“The new spaces (containing art) are going to allow Barranquilla residents to enjoy different sites in the city. With the art, we’ll have a better quality of life and more people will come and live in Barranquilla,” she said.
On the same day that Barranquilla resumed international flights, the Ernesto Cortissoz Airport was presented with two murals paying homage to flying, both of them blending the colors and the spirit of the Caribbean.
The mural painted by Yuyo Del Valle is a symbolic representation of the “Empire of the Birds,” one of the traditional dances at the Barranquilla Carnival, the birds overflying an image of an attractive and prosperous city with the Magdalena River – Colombia’s main waterway – running through it.
And Omar Alonso prepared the mural “Flying Is Easy,” an allegory of water and flight, and how the bodies of water that bathe Barranquilla also provide the sensation of flying when one swims in them.
This pair of works that now adorn the air terminal and welcome visitors arriving in the coastal city were made possible thanks to the cooperation of the Tourism Office and the Airport Group of the Caribbean, which operates the airport, and the permanent alliance between the Culture, Heritage and Tourism Secretariat and the Alliance Francaise, which organizes the Killart exhibition.