When the city becomes a gallery

Quito-Ecuador, 8:00 am. The city begins its daily routine while its inhabitants try to get to work or school on time. Buildings, shops, streets, and large avenues all fill with people in a hurry, moving along without looking around. I am one of these people.

Every day I trace my predetermined routes so I can get to my usual spots. And though I have made my way through the city in this manner thousands of times, I can’t say I know all of it, much less that I pay attention to every detail..

The city is alive despite it having become our daily travel route, and often tries to remind us that besides its museums, squares and churches, Quito also tells stories in its streets and on its walls. Colors, shapes and contours on several walls get my attention as a peculiar means of communication, and so, without a moment’s hesitation, I follow it.

Mural en Plaza Borja Yerovi – Mo (9 de Octubre And Jerónimo Carrión) Photo: Natalie Mena
Mural en Plaza Borja Yerovi – Mo (9 de Octubre y Jerónimo Carrión) Foto: Natalie Mena

Among cross-streets, parks and corners, the monotony of the urban scenery slowly transforms on color-filled walls, and into a few phrases and characters from other realities. Ocean, sky, jungle, faces, fantastical animals, looks, silhouettes, gestures and colloquial expressions merge in order to show us that art does not have a determined place in Quito, it’s everywhere, particularly in areas like the FLoresta, Guápulo, Monteserrín and La Mariscal.

From "sal quiteña" (quiteño humor) and those famous proverbs that have been passed on from generation to generation, come the most creative ideas that guard the essence of the city. “Sol de aguas de viejas”, “Me voy a volver” (I’m leaving to come back), “Vacila Guápulo city” (Guapulo city rules), “En boca cerrada no entran moscas” (A closed mouth gathers no flies), become images on the walls of Quito, some out in the open, even for the most oblivious to notice, and others somewhat hidden, waiting to be discovered.

If you live in the city, or are simply visiting for a few days, Quito is worth discovering; slowly, taking the time to search for these and other artistic expressions. If you do, signatures like Apitatán, Skipy, Bego, Mo, and Crispo will surely become familiar to you, along with those of other artists who see this city as their canvas and their source of inspiration.

Written by: Nathalie Mena / Picture: Nathalie Mena

To See
Los detalles de los frescos de los murales de las capilla, los árboles y flores del jardín.

Para escuchar
Los distintos ambientes musicales que ofrecen estos sitios.

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