By Karoliina, a Finnish student and one of our interns
The Graffiti Tour is such an interesting way to get to know the city of Medellin. Instead of taking a regular city tour, this is a great way to see the urban street life in Medellin, which you would not normally experience on your own. The graffiti work you see here is not just walls filled with random butch; it’s a real art with real stories behind them.
The graffitis tells the history and transformation of Medellin over the past years. Our guide Kabala, local rap specialist, has lived and seen all kinds of stories. He was very passionate and emotional to share the stories with us, and you could tell that everything came directly from his heart. He cares about the community so much, that it felt good to be a part of supporting it. We visited Casa Kolacho that is responsible for 90% of the graffiti work you see in Comuna 13, made by its artists. Casa Kolacho consists of a group of innovative people from different areas of arts, like graffiti and music. They work on a voluntary basis with a goal to improve and revitalize the community. It was very inspiring to visit the Kolacho house and meet the people who are the base of the whole project. We had a short graffiti workshop, where we all could try to leave our own print on a wall, a symbolic print that somehow matters to us.
After Casa Kolacho we headed to visit the real Comuna 13. The whole area with its colours, children, houses and streets were very different than the central areas of Medellin that I’ve used to see, and definitely a perfect place for photographers. We climbed up the streets to get a nice look at the city view of Medellin and tried reputedly the best ice cream in Medellin, made by a local lady. I definitely can contribute to that; it really was the best coconut ice cream I’ve ever had so far in Colombia!
It was amazing to experience the famous electrical stairs, which took us up to the hill and is a daily help for local people to move up and down the area. The people of Comuna 13 were warm and friendly, and we felt very safe and welcomed to get to know the area and enjoy what we see. It was difficult to imagine, that this warm and happy area used to be the most dangerous area of Medellin a few years ago.
I was so happy with Graffitour, and I felt like I learned a whole new perspective of Medellin. It was a good way to get to know people as well, and make friends if you are alone in a new country like I am. The atmosphere, guides and the whole experience was so interesting and especial, that I would take a re-tour anytime!