Street Art of Cuzco, Peru

by douglas reeser on February 19, 2012
Cuzco is a visually stunning city nestled in the Andes Mountains. Meandering cobblestone streets, ancient architecture topped with colonial buildings and surrounded by mountains, and a rich cultural heritage combine to keep the eyes absorbed in activity. If one looks closely, street art is beginning to pop up around the city as well, adding an interesting and thought-provoking aspect to the City of the Inca. 
~ Mother Earth ~ 
Pachamama, spirit of the Earth represented by the sacred corn,
still revered by indigenous peoples throughout Peru and the Americas.
Photo by douglas reeser.

~ Corn of Death ~
We happened across a sort of protest in the main square in Cuzco that was advocating for safe
foods and good nutrition along with a decidedly anti-Monsanto element. This corn cob
of skulls represents Monsanto corn that is genetically modified and has unknown environmental
 and health effects.
Photo by douglas reeser.

~ the Virgin and the Child ~
I'm not exactly sure what this piece represents, but we encountered it a number of times throughout
the city. One can surmise that in a city so rich in religious architecture and iconography,
 this picture may be a comment on some aspect of the Virgin, her child, and their ever-lasting
effects on the city and its people.
Photo by douglas reeser.

~ Death by Consumption ~
This is another sign we saw with the food advocates in the main square. The television and
the products that it promotes, namely Pepsi Cola, McDonalds, and other sugary and fried foods
implore - no force - the youth to consume, consume, consume.
Photo by douglas reeser.

~ Reverse Tourism ~
This was one of my favorite paintings in Cuzco - an indigenous woman taking a photograph
of a tourist. This somehow reveals the objectification taking place in this tourist Mecca.
Interestingly, we experienced something like this during the trip, when more than once,
Peruvian youth asked to have their picture taken with us on their phones and cameras.
We never did figure out what exactly was going on there.
Photo by douglas reeser.

~ Yourbucks, Ourbucks, Starbucks ~
This is the larger context of the Reverse Tourism picture, but I had to include it for its great
play on Starbucks. Here we can see a definite anti-corporate, anti-exploitation theme going on,
along with elements of respect for the earth and environment (note the tree and
Pachamama paintings to the left).
Photo by douglas reeser.

~ the Porter ~
Again, we encountered a painting with unknown meaning. It appears to be a man
wearing a traditional woven cap, common among villagers in the Andes. Many of
these men work as porters on the Inca Trail and other mountain treks. Painting such a
dignified picture on the streets of Cuzco reminds people of these men's importance
to social and economic life in the region.
Photo by douglas reeser. 
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  1. Anonymous8:50 PM

    awesome photos

  2. The street art is one of my favorite parts in the foreign cities I've traveled.

  3. The one of the reverse photographic scene is just amazing.

  4. I would love to find out if the reverse-tourism trend we saw with the Peruvian kids taking pictures of us is something that others have experienced!

    1. Well - perhaps we should write a column about it. My initial question is whether what we experienced - Peruvian kids (also tourists) taking our picture with them - is related to the graffiti - an indigenous woman taking a picture of a tourist?


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