Shaking off its turbulent past and dark history of drug cartels, paramilitaries and violence, Colombia and many other countries of South America have become centers of vibrant street art. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Puerto Rico are just some of the countries that have been adorned with amazing urban and street art, forming a uniquely vivid and diversified scene of South American street art. In countries with many social political issues and struggles of the people, it is art that alleviates the suffering and transcends the hardships we must go through. For these and other reasons, Latin America has had a flourishing scene of prominent and underground young artists who embellished the streets of the cities they live in. Recently, we’ve compiled a list of ten best South American urban artists, but now, we turn our focus on their female counterparts. Many of these women went through the same struggle, or even worse, being a female in a predominantly male-oriented world of street art. Alas, they have managed to thrive and make a name for themselves through their artwork, regardless of the gender, political and social issues they had to overcome. Many of them even focused their work on the female position in South American culture, attempting to bring to light the hardships they go through, while others wish to put aside, as much as possible, the gender division between the artists. We present a short list of female Latin American street artists you should know, and rest assure, the list is to be expanded in the future with more rising names of women in the street art scene of South America.
Marta Noemi has shown her talent in quite an early age, and she has been recognized for it since childhood. She is noted for her cultural heroism which is conveyed through multidisciplinary expressions. Noriega is a versed artist, producing her work through poems, paintings, graffiti, and murals. The artist herself admitted that there is no place where she feels more appreciated as an artist than in the street. After a period of traveling, exploring different cultures and influences, Martanoemi found her voice. Her murals depict historical moments worth remembering, inspiring protests and other symbols of the Panamanian literature and social reality. She considers herself and her work as deeply political, always trying to transpose a conscious message.
Based in Bogota and Panama City, Camila Maria Bernal Toro (Remedios) is a visual artist and graphic designer. Her work is inspired by her admiration of nature, with intricate details and fantastic stories derived from everyday life. As the artist described her work, it does not aim to make a change in the world, nor to interfere with the way people think, it only seeks to convey a sensation of plenitude and tranquility. With her artwork, she wants the viewer to stop for a second and forget the reality around him/her, allowing themselves a moment or few to not think, and just drift away into the beautiful floral patterns created by Remedios. Having grown up in Colombia and surrounded by nature, the tranquil environment has always been one of the pivotal elements in her life. After studying graphic design and learning much about the image in relation to harmony, proportion, functionality, and color, she strives to create mesmerizing artwork that sends the viewer into a familiar, yet new environment.
The renowned street artist from Colombia's capital city of Bogota, Bastardilla creates work that is now recognized throughout the world. The artist has made much effort to remain behind the veil of anonymity. As she stated in one of the rare interviews she made, the entire concept of anonymity is particularly appealing to her because of the fact that we live in a world where everyone is promoting their own image. Focused on the themes of feminism, Bastardilla sheds light on the plight of Latin American women and the fight to end violence in South America. With added sparkles and thick expressive lines, Bastardilla's street art catches the light in a beautiful way at night. With her mind always flowing with the next ideas and projects, Bastardilla builds connections between people and introduces social-political themes into everyday dialogue.
Another street artist based in Bogota, Colombia, LeDania is a true art persona. Her creative force is expressed through a variety of forms, but her most recognizable work involves complex and colorful murals. Touching upon magic and influenced by the mythological, LeDania creates intricate murals that truly spring to life through vibrant colors and slick moves. Her artwork adorns numerous giant walls, longboards, furniture, shirts and various other mediums, but the wall remains her favorite choice of the bunch. As the prominent artist stated, murals are not made as a “spur of the moment” kind of thing, they are life, color, and life.
Working with a bit of unusual themes for street art, Lik Mi creates daunting wheatpastes featuring copulating couples and full nudity. With the artist having a great interest in the body and the way it connects with the mind and the soul, she is also fascinated by the taboos that follow sexuality. She was born in Bogota and was trained as a graphic designer. After a few years of work in the industry, Lik Mi started to get bored and uncomfortable with her life, working for the system, selling cars and so on. Then, she decided it was time for a drastic change, she quit her job and went to live with an indigenous Ticuna community for seven months. This life-changing experience inspired her to pursue her artistic path and not to work for anyone else.
The only female member of the prominent Vertigo Graffiti crew, Zas is a graffiti writer from the streets of Bogota. Unlike some other female artists from this list, Zas feels like a natural part of the crews she works with, stating that they cover her back and she covers theirs, ultimately, treating each other as equals. Even though she did have to face and recognize certain challenges to working as a female street artist, Zas doesn’t like that her gender is taken into account when evaluating her work. Alongside Jade, Vertigo, and MDC, the young female artist worked on the iconic “El Beso de Los Invisibles”, which is a large-scale mural in downtown Bogota, measuring up to 115 feet in height. It was a thrilling experience for Zas to have worked on such a big project in the center of the city. Also, she stated that this magnificent piece is a product of genuine teamwork where several talented artists worked together to create a single breathtaking image.
Ever since she was a child, Meki has been developing a consistent practice of drawing every day. The one thing that triggered her fascination with art was the arrival of graffiti in the city. Whenever she would see graffiti and street art, she would feel great admiration for the artists, inspiring her to strive to become one herself. After some practice at home and on school walls, Meki hit the streets and her street art career took off. As her style developed, so did her hometown Lima's street art scene evolve, it no longer aimed to completely resemble the NY or Philadelphia scene, it began to form a style of its own. Once she finishes her anthropology studies, Meki wishes to mix her degree with her art. The artist has painted across South America, but her hometown of Lima remains her favorite location.
All images used for illustrative purposes only.