Bogota Street Art: Mural of a Wayuu by Carlos Trilleras

This spectacular mural is of a Wayuu –aka Wayu, Wayúu, Guajiro, Wahiro– indigenous woman by Colombian street artist and muralist Carlos Trilleras in Candelaria, Bogota‘s historical city center. Located on the narrow Calle del Embudo near the central Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo square, the mural dominates the setting. Like the Wayuu group that it represents, one that was never subjugated by the Spanish, the mural can’t and won’t be ignored.

As with the work of his compatriot Guache, there is a great sense of dignity and honor in Trilleras’s portrait, projecting a strong link to the past while also staring proudly, almost fiercely, to the future. Her eyes suggest that she’s carrying a great weight, yet she seems to bear it as if it were weightless. Making the most of the large piece’s cramped location, Trilleras’s use of line, space and color works extraordinarily well here, giving the piece, and the woman, room to breathe.

The work was among the key highlights of a Bogota Graffiti Tour I’ll be posting about next week to both introduce and kick off a six-part Bogota Street Art series. Stay tuned.

The Wayuu are from the Guajira Peninsula to the north that juts out into the Caribbean and shared by Venezuela and Colombia. With a population of about 200,000, the Wayuu form the largest indigenous group in Colombia, representing about 20 percent of the country’s total Amerindian population, according to Wikipedia. Likewise in Venezuela, where the Wayuu number some 300,000, representing just under 60 percent of the Amerindians.

Known as the people of the sun, sand and wind, the Wayuu were never entirely subjugated by the Spanish against whom they were engaged in a near-constant state of rebellion. More recently, their fate and treatment has been similar to that of other indigenous groups the world over, their problems largely ignored and their traditional lands granted to mining interests — in this case by both the Colombian and Venezuelan governments.


Today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 735th straight, was snapped in Bogota, Colombia on 10 June 2015.



    1. Work with me on this one. 🙂 When I participate in the WP photo challenges, more often than not I try to figure out a way to use the photo that’s in front of me at the time. Sometimes it works, and sometimes (apparently) it doesn’t so much. 😉

  1. I am a sucker for all graffiti and street art, imo there are true artists out there who deserve all the attention they do not get. As for white man’s treatment of the indigenous peoples who’s land he stole, whose families he killed..I cannot find the right words for the arrogance ..shameful episode and still going on,

  2. Love street art – and this example is fantastic! There’s something about the size of the art that really moves me. When it spans the side of a building (or buildings) together with color, line, perspective, I get wonderfully overwhelmed. Looking forward to your series!

  3. Whilst I really love to see more information about the Wayuu being circulated (they are a group with a remarkable culture who have been sadly ignored a great deal by Colombia’s government) this mural is of a Kuna woman, an indigenous group who live on the San Blas or Guna Yala islands between Panama and Colombia (as well as small settlements on the mainlands of both countries). I love the Bogota graffiti tour, however their information is inaccurate in this rare case. The key details are the gold nose-ring (Kuna woman go through a ceremony as small children of 2-4, known as ‘ikko inna’ [needle ceremony], where their noses are pierced to carry the gold ring which they will wear all their lives); the headscarf and the ‘wini’ or collection of bead necklaces. As well as these traditional dress details, the patterns on the wall surrounding the image of the woman represent designs found on the ‘mola’ or traditional panel sections which all Kuna woman have sewn into their dresses (and possibly part of the reason for the location of this art is that the adjacent shop sells Kuna mola patterns).

    I hate being ‘that guy’ (and, as I say, I loved reading this post for the wealth of information you provided on the Wayuu), but I just wanted to perhaps shine a light on another Indigenous group with a rich and fascinating culture.

    I love your blog, especially your Colombia content, you have shone a light on many aspects of Colombia that few people see.



    1. Chris — thanks very much for the clarification. I don’t mind at all being corrected on things, indeed I encourage it. One thing the internet doesn’t need is more inaccuracies. The initial Wayuu ID didn’t come from Rey, who led the Graffiti Tour I went on, but rather from an interview with the artist that I found on a Colombian news site. I’m familiar with the Kuna in a general introductory sense, having spent a few days sailing through the San Blas Islands three years ago, and even have a Mola, (now framed!), hanging on my bedroom wall. That one is quite different from the one in this picture, so I wouldn’t have made the immediate connection.

      In any case, I’ll now edit/update/correct the post. Thank you again.

  4. It’s always nice to get some information about the indigenes in Colombia. It’s such an important part of their culture. Thanks Bob 😉

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