The World’s Coolest Square: 49 Photos From Medellin’s Botero Plaza

Venus snoozing in Medellin's Botero Plaza

Venus snoozing in Medellin’s Botero Plaza

It didn’t take me long to decide that Botero Plaza was among my favorite public gathering places in the world. And that’s only partly because it’s the eponymous square of one my favorite contemporary artists.

Situated in the Old Quarter of Medellin’s city center, it’s home to 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero, the city’s favorite son, which he donated to the Museo de Antioquia, a world class art museum that dominates the square’s west side. They’ve been on permanent display in what is Medellin’s only open air museum since 2002.

What struck me most about the area is how welcoming the space actually is, one where seemingly everyone feels at home. Young mothers, drunks, beggars, cigarette and lime juice vendors freely intermingle with musicians, tourists, artists and bankers. Being surrounded by nearly two dozen stunning larger-than-life examples of human sensuality has a certain calming effect. Here it’s very palpable. Infectious.

Botero Plaza

Continue reading…


Lüftlmalerei, or Air Painting in Bavaria: 14 Examples

I mentioned Lüftlmalerei, or Air Painting, in my 68 Hours in Garmisch-Partenkirken Notebook post yesterday, but feel it needs a little further explanation. And more examples.

Lüftlmalerei refers to the colorful frescoes that are commonly seen on the sides of houses, hotels, storefronts and shops throughout not only GaPa, but in other parts of Southern Germany, Italy and elsewhere in the Alpine world. The style dates back to the mid 18th century and it’s believed that the name is derived from Zum Lüftl, the house and home of facade painter Franz Seraph Zwinck in Oberammergau, Germany. I’ve seen very similar decorative murals in some of Slovenia’s Alpine regions; whether that’s considered authentic Lüftlmalerei, I don’t know. As I recall the similarity in styles were striking.

The majority of the murals I saw in GaPa —and there were LOTS— depicted religious motifs, but there were plenty that were secular in nature as well. Fairy tales were a common theme, as were depictions of a romanticized version of country life. And young love, too.

Below, a slide show with 12 more examples. Some really beautiful work. Enjoy!


Previously from Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

~ 68 Hours in a Snowless Garmisch-Partenkirchen – GaPa Notebook
~ 45-Second Cheap Hotel Adviser – Haus Höllental, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
~ Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – Travel | Stock Image Gallery
~ Waxenstein Mountain, Bavaria (Pic du Jour)



Can’t stop by every day but want to keep in touch?

Then subscribe to The Piran Café READER, my website’s companion newsletter. Dispatched three or four times a month, the newsletter presents a brief and convenient digest to help you catch up with posts you may have missed. There are also occasional giveaway drawings and exclusive news and updates available and open to subscribers only. So why not subscribe right now?

Enhanced by Zemanta
Hand (Mano) by Fernando Botero

Botero’s Hand

To celebrate Piran Café’s 50th (!) straight Pic du Jour, I thought I’d give myself a hand.

This is Mano, or Hand, by Fernando Botero, one of 23 sculptures by the Colombian artist that sit in his eponymous square in Medellin. It’s a very welcoming space, one where seemingly everyone feels at home. Young mothers, drunks, cigarette and lime juice vendors freely intermingle with musicians, beggars, artists and bankers. I decided that it’s among my favorite plazas in the world.

Medellin, 03-Jun-2014
Enhanced by Zemanta
Siu i Moana I, Dame Robin White / Ruha Fifita, 2011

Robin White, Across the Pacific

This is Siu i Moana I by Robin White, one of three pieces by the New Zealand artist that were part of the exhibit Kermadec – art across the Pacific at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC) in Santiago, Chile, the first half of last year.

The large pieces, measuring about four meters by five meters, dominated the museum’s main atrium, with the late afternoon sun beautifully casting light on the school of fish swimming below the boat. They looked very determined and very much alive. Below is Siu i Moana II.

Siu i Moana II, Dame Robin White / Ruha Fifita, 2011

Siu i Moana II, Dame Robin White / Ruha Fifita, 2011

The aim of the exhibit, a group show comprised of eight artists from New Zealand and one from Australia, was to reflect on man’s relationship with the Kermadec Islands, an island group located about 1,000 kilometers northeast of New Zealand’ s North Island. With the exception of one station on Raoul Island, the group is entirely uninhabited and considered one of the last pristine areas on the planet.

About White’s pieces, collaborations with Tongan artist Ruha Fifita, from The

The three ngatu which make up Siu i Moana speak of the things that bind New Zealand and the Pacific islands. The title of the group suggests movement—‘a reaching across/ towards the ocean’.


Siu i Moana traces patterns of migration, in relation to fish species as well as humanity. The long-finned tuna, prominent in two of the ngatu, follow a migratory path which takes them the length of the Kermadec Ridge, from New Zealand to Tonga and back. ‘As human beings, we are creatures that live in the space between,’ White reflects. Hence the particular poignancy of the flying fish which, she says, ‘lives between the different elements, as between physical and spiritual worlds’.

Read more here.

Rangitahua, Dame Robin White / Ruha Fifita, 2011

Rangitahua, Dame Robin White / Ruha Fifita, 2011

I had never heard of White and was delighted to come across her work. Widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s greatest working artists, she was most prominent in the 1970s, and lived and worked on the island of Tarawa in Kiribati for nearly two decades.

A little more about White and here work:

  • A short profile via The Kermadecs: an ocean wilderness
  • A 40 minute conversation with Sarah Farrar, the Curator Contemporary Art and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington (1 April 2013)
  • A 24 minute discussion on her works Florence and harbour cone and 28 days in Kiribati at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu (29 November 2009)


Enhanced by Zemanta
Bariloche 061

Urban Canvases – 39 Street Art Pics from Bariloche, Argentina

I’m a sucker for any thoughtful renderings of Mother Earth; combine Pacha Mama with a reference to a Tom Waits song, and I’m sold.

I spotted this beautiful piece about four blocks south of the Centro Civico in Bariloche, Argentina, this week’s stop in Piran Café’s Urban Canvases series. Ths city of some 115,000, formally known as San Carlos de Bariloche, lies in the northern reaches of Patagonia along the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. Attracted by its stunning Andean setting and a wealth of summer and winter activities, it’s become the premiere stop in the region for trekkers, skiers and lovers of the outdoors.

Like other places that rely heavily on tourism, here by far the chief economic driver, the rise in the price of services and property has a flip side. That’s the side that interested me that particular week last March.

I stayed in Bariloche for five days; with one afternoon exception the majority of those 120 or so hours were spent close to town exploring the city’s urban life where I discovered, among other things, lots of street art.

There’s quite a mix here, from the elaborate, colorful and playful to hard-edged polemical scribblings that all possess their own unique charm.

Three galleries and 39 pics in all. Enjoy!

I posted twice before from and about Bariloche, with both posts offering, among other things, additional examples of streetart. This post, published to celebrate International Women’s Day, featured murals created for a national women’s gathering the city hosted in 2011. And the there is 100 Seconds from Bariloche, a short video comprised of one-second clips collected over the course of a five hour walk. A fun experiment in speed and editing.

Do you have any Bariloche street art-related links you’d like to share, or links to photos of your own? Do tell in the comments below and I’ll be happy to add them to the main post.

And finally, check out the Urban Canvasses series’ debut from last week, focusing on Santiago, Chile.


This post was added to the Sunday Traveler blog linkup which made its debut last month. Visit Ice Cream and Permafrost, one of the co-hosts, throughout the week to check out other travel-related blog posts or to add your own.


[PiranCafe on Facebook] [Google+] [Twitter]

Enhanced by Zemanta

Racismo, Vidal Cussi, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC) - Plaza, La Paz, Bolivia

Vidal Cussi – the Power of Silence

This is ‘Racismo’ by Bolivian artist Vidal Cussi, part of the solo exhibit ‘El Silencio’ at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Plaza in La Paz, Bolivia, last April. It was the first time I saw racism depicted through the brush and eyes of an Aymara, an Andean indigenous culture whose traditional masks look nothing like the one illustrated in the painting above.

Here Cussi’s unique style involved layers: creating or emphasizing them and then tearing them back or exposing them. There are thinly-veiled blankets of loneliness portrayed but there is also strength cloaked in a veneer of fear.

Cussi (b. 1983), is a graduate of the National Academy of Fine Arts, ives and works in nearby El Alto, the sprawling suburb of more than a million people in the high plain above La Paz. An employee at the museum told me Cussi is one of the most widely regarded young artists working in the country today.

Besides a few short interviews in Bolivian newspapers or news websites, there is not much to be found on Cussi on the web. His work definitely deserves a wider audience. Here is a gallery of 11 pieces from the exhibit and below that an earlier work, ‘Una Mirada al Destino’, to give you a glimpse of Cussi’s wide and eclectic range. The color reproductions here aren’t perfect and for that I apologize, but there’s only so much one can do when limited to flash-free hand-held high ISO shooting.

FYI I just added these to my painting and sculpture creative commons road collection here; feel free to use any of these images in non-commercial projects, blogs, wikis, etc.

Un Mirada al Destino

Un Mirada al Destino

Enhanced by Zemanta
Azram’s Blue Fish

Azram’s Blue Fish – LJ Pic of the Day

Today’s Ljubljana Daily Pic reminded me of a fish. Maybe that’s because I read another story yesterday morning about the high levels of radiation in Pacific blue fin tuna thanks to Fukushima. If it’s not, my sincerest apologies. In any case, it’s a great mural, spotted in the railroad underpass on Kajuhova Street, not far from the nightmarish BTC shopping center sprawl.

Azram is fairly ubiquitous around the Slovenian capital. If you’re not up to searching the streets, you can find more on his/her flickr page here. Or check out this album on my Facebook page, the second in my almost daily ‘About town’ series, which includes a few more of his/her works along with a handful of unrelated mobile phone pics all taken yesterday afternoon.


Fight Your Idols – LJ Pic of the Day

That’s the name of this piece by Slovenian artist Matej Jarc, currently on display as part of the 4th Independent Biennial, or Bienale neodvisnih, whose mission is to promote independent Slovenian illustration. At the second floor Kamera gallery space at the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture through November 21.

I’m delighted that Basquiat managed to make an appearance in the Ljubljana Daily Pic project which is now chugging along at 13 straight. If you’re a Basquiat fan, check out this post from fall 2010 on the exhibit ‘Street and Studio: From Basquiat to Séripop’, at Vienna’s Kunsthalle where works by Basquiat formed the show’s backbone.

Imam/o Problem (I/We Have a Problem), Primož Zorko

6th Biennial of Slovene Visual Communications Opens in Ljubljana

Here are a dozen shots from the 6th Biennial of Slovene Visual Communications, which opened last night at the National Gallery here in Ljubljana. The exhibit, which runs through November 24, includes 249 pieces of what the Brumen Foundation, sponsor of the event, calls the 249 best works in the field of design created in the last two years. I can’t vouch for that characterization, but it’s certainly something to set aside a couple hours of your time for if you’re in Ljubljana over the next month.

I was a bit partial towards the posters on display, so those make up the bulk of the photos here, beginning with Imam/o Problem (I/We Have a Problem), above, by Primož Zorko, created for an international graphic design conference held in Belgrade earlier this year. Below is the poster for Slovenian National Theater’s production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, designed by Danijela Grgić.

Chekhov’s Three Sisters, design by Danijela Grgić

Chekhov’s Three Sisters, design by Danijela Grgić


This is Razkriti obrazi rasizma / The Faces of Racism Revealed by Iztok Skok, created for the 2011 Ljubljana Poster Festival. And below, a snap from the opening Tuesday night.


Nine more shots below.

IMG_3846 IMG_3845 IMG_3825 IMG_3827 IMG_3833 IMG_3810 IMG_3813 IMG_3778 IMG_3800

Enhanced by Zemanta