Heads up, it’s La Paz street art

On first inspection, La Paz is a hard city to love. It may be one of the most dramatically located cities in the world, tumbling, as it does, down the near vertical sides of an enormous crater, with 6000m+ mountains as a backdrop; but it takes a while to win over the affections. Not, I suspect, that it is trying to win them.

La Paz’s case isn’t aided by the 3600m altitude, the hills you need to walk up every time you step onto the streets or the crazy traffic spewing noxious fumes that distort the senses; but the few days I’ve spent in the city since arriving in Bolivia have gone a long way to converting me to its charms. Key to this, as I wandered through its highways and byways, was some bizarre and intriguing street art, the like of which you just don’t get in provincial Sucre.

Most interesting is the fact that much of the artwork focuses on heads. So here’s a step-by-step guide to some glorious street art by La Paz’s spray-paint ragamuffins.

Like all good street art, politics should find a place alongside more esoteric work. In this case, it started with Evo…

Clown or Red Nose Day ambassador? La Paz, Bolivia

Clown or Red Nose Day ambassador? La Paz, Bolivia

Another Bolivian icon to get some stencil treatment is the beloved Che.

He probably could knock up good saltenas, La Paz, Bolivia

He probably could knock up good saltenas, La Paz, Bolivia

While stencils are quite popular, the artwork in some barrios is much more intricate.

He wouldn't be out of place walking the streets of Bermondsey, La Paz, Bolivia

He wouldn’t be out of place walking the streets of Bermondsey, La Paz, Bolivia

Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Definitely reminds me of someone...Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Definitely reminds me of someone…Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Self portrait? Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Self portrait? Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

There are quite a lot of maniacal grins on the walls of La Paz, Bolivia

There are quite a lot of maniacal grins on the walls of La Paz, Bolivia

Is this Michael Jackson? Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Is this Michael Jackson? Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Women remain in the minority on the walls, Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Women remain in the minority on the walls, Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

A typical Andean scene, Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

A typical Andean scene, Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Not a typical Andean scene, Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Not a typical Andean scene, Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Proof that shrunken head technology exists? Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Proof that shrunken head technology exists? Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

And finally, something that people may be familiar with…

Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Street Art, La Paz, Bolivia

Coming soon…non-head street art…watch this space.

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