CARACAS, VENEZUELA STREET ART & GRAFFITI: BEAUTY & DANGER IN AN ALLEY

Capturing shots of graffiti murals isn’t the safest passion. Especially, as I do more than take full shots. I like to ‘dissect’ them and capture them piece by piece. Some of the graffiti posts you see on my blog, sure, lots of people can safely wander in those areas and take pictures, but more and more increasingly, I am getting pictures of murals that locals will tell you not to risk going near. The fact is, the best graffiti, the graffiti that tells the real story of disenchantment, poverty, unrepresented people, anti-government…that all comes from graffiti that is naturally, in lower-class neighborhoods. And that’s the graffiti that I want. That’s the graffiti that teaches me a country’s politics, a country’s culture, a country’s history. It’s an adrenaline rush to step closer and closer into an area that I know is sketchy. I always survey my area, I always look for police, I always make sure no one is near me, and I always look for the quick exit. But, it is dangerous and I am serious about it. For now, this will be my last bit from Caracas, as I am now in Maturin, the fifth largest city in Venezuela, and an area that has specific issues of its own. Much which I will explore later. Back to this last Caracas graffiti post. I found an alley. Already, that’s not safe. But, I did. It is off of the Brion plaza area in Chacaito. At first, I just saw an entire block of a building covered and immediately started heading for it, and then I saw the group of people at the front of the alley and I thought better of it. They looked high on something and they were trying to sell bits and bobs of handmade jewelry and stuff, but, you could see in their eyes a vacancy that I read, “you can take a chance, but even I don’t know what could happen to you.” So I walked on along the Plaza, but could not get that mural out of my head, and thought, “there’s got to be a way that I can get in there and not get harassed.”  So, after quite awhile, I turned around and walked down a safer side street, turned again, and walked to the other end of that alley and chose to enter from there. There was a man outside his shop working and I think of people like that as ‘witnesses,’ so I felt a bit safer. There was still a small contingent of addicts along the other wall, but I progressed slowly, kept looking around, and I had my whistle in my mouth. I always have a whistle ready to blow when I’m in those situations. I hope that it will startle and freak out the perpetrator and they’ll run, and that police will come, and that other people will take notice. It’s a little less secure in Venezuela, as it is a bit lawless and criminals don’t really fear the police. Here are the pictures. They didn’t get here easily.

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It was actually too dangerous on this day to get a full shot because that would have required my Canon 550D, so I had to go piece by piece, very carefully, with my iPod using Instagram Lo-Fi aspect (that aspect tends to bring out the vibrancy in the colors.)

9JAN13.  Caracas, Venezuela.

CARACAS, VENEZUELA: A WALK AMONGST THE CLOUDS IN ALTAMIRA

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ImageImageAs the news is focused on the presidential inauguration and Chavez’s inability to return from Cuba in time, news reporters are stationed around the city doing up-to-the minute reports.

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Chavez’s eyes are always watching.

8JAN13. Caracas, Venezuela.

CARACAS, VENEZUELA: EL AVILA MOUNTAIN

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Instagram – First shot of the Teleferico (cable car) from the ground

On Sunday, I waited in line for about 4 hours (no exaggeration, longest line ever, there were four distinct moments when I thought of abandoning the queue, giving up) to get on the famous teleferico to ride it to the top of El Avila (2600 meters), the mountain that surrounds and casts a mighty shadow over Caracas.

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finally in the cable car going up
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on the mountaintop, people lean over Chavez
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view of the valley below
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a lavender valley
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El Avila
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touching the clouds
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valley
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the hills go on forever
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riding the teleferico down
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the city below
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Caracas
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arriving into the city

6JAN13.Caracas, Venezuela.

CARACAS, VENEZUELA POLITICAL STREET ART: NEAR EL BOSQUE/LUIS BRION PLAZA

This was the first walk I was taken on as I tried to get my wits about me in the area I’d be staying in for the first week.

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This type of “No Guns” sign is practically everywhere here in Caracas. At first, I laughed, and thought, “Wow.” Then, I thought, “Wait. The U.S. is actually at this stage now where we need these signs posted in public places.” Sadly, enough.
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“Why do only the poor go to prison?”
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I thought this was a really cool building.
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“It’s the time to save the world.”
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“The actions speak so loudly that no words are heard.”
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Slogan for Chavez’s opponent, Capriles Rodonski, who famously points his forefinger to the sky when he’s with a crowd of supporters. Miranda is the ‘county’ that he governs.

ImageImageImageImageImageImage4JAN13.Caracas, Venezuela. 

 

 

CARACAS, VENEZUELA STREET ART: “CHAVEZ BETA”

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This image was a part of the Presidential campaign last year. Their goal was to ‘relate to the youth,’ by depicting Chavez as a Hip-Hop type o’ guy. Regardless of one’s political slants, most agree it was a brilliant campaign (“Chavez Beta”) to entice the youth.

4JAN13. Caracas, Venezuela. Instagram with Lo-Fi Aspect.

CARACAS, VENEZUELA STREET ART: “PROPAGANDA”

campaign slogans

Chavez as Buddha, their god, their savior (propaganda)

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history as a reminder

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5JAN13. Caracas, Venezuela. Instagram with Lo-Fi Aspect.