We have all heard stories of Medellin, the crime, danger, Narcos with their human and drug trafficking, i did not know what to expect. But as always went visiting with an open mind because being Nigerian, i know what it is to have one story set the precedent for preconceptions about a country or city, lots of people warned me before my trip," hold on to your bag, don't walk around at night, don't speak to strangers, be careful"
The art in Medellin is in your face, bold and unforgiving, tells the vivid story of the unbending backs of the people, trying to rebuild their scandalous past without hiding from the lessons. Medellin has been my favorite place in Colombia. The willpower of determined people.
Our first few days, David and i left my friends and ventured on our own, we stayed in a hotel, befriended a local that drove us around town, he took us to the Botero plaza in Old quarters Medellin that houses the provocative bronze sculptures of fat people and animals created by Fernando Botero, he created and cast the bronze sculptures from his design studios in Pietra Santa, Italy along with the rest of his collection of sculptures. He donated the sculptures to the city and the museum of Antioquia maintains them in the plaza according to his direction. Interesting to note about Botero is that he insists that he doesnt sculpt fat people but instead plays with volume by manipulating space and perspective, he draws attention to the monumentality of his figures, showing them in spaces that seem too small to contain them.
We then visited Comuna 13, the most densely populated and highest crime Comuna in Medellin rewrote their story after the installation of escaleras electricas, the outdoor escalators that provides access to low income housing.
It's a beautiful story of what technology can do, these homes were isolated from the city below, very hard to reach because they were built on mountain sides with steep slopes that make it hard to drive up with manual cars. In here bred the fearful guerillas and narcos gangs.
After the escalators and side walks were installed years ago, local artists from the comuna youths started painting graffiti on the walls to beautify the neighborhood and most importantly tell the story of their resilient community, people determined to change the narrative of being the most dangerous neighborhood in Medellin to now one of the most visited tourist areas.
Each art portraying a story of death and life and progress, the artists get a lease of 3 years for each graffiti and another local artist can repaint something else after the lease is done.
Medellin was alive, the people thriving and the food was amazing, we had the most delicious empanadas from street stalls, drank copious tequilas, Night life was long and left you completely exhausted in a good way the day after, and the wedding that brought all of us to Colombia is one that will stay in my memory forever, lets just say Colombians know how to get it on. Its been a while that i attended a non Nigerian wedding that left me full of culture, of love, of dancing.
It was the perfect way to end the most amazing trip, and i don't say this about a lot of countries, but i know that i'll be back to Colombia.