Photo Walk Nº60 – Street art in Mexico City’s hipster neighbourhood, Colonia Roma
Lots of eye-catching murals in a neighbourhood scarred by the September earthquake
Our first Photo Walk of the year took place in Colonia Roma, Mexico City’s hipster neighbourhood, which saw buildings damaged during the strong earthquake which shook the city a few months ago. This part of Mexico City is built on a former lakebed and the soft soil amplified the shaking, causing more damage than in some other places. As part of a local initiative to bring visitors back to La Roma, a series of 8 murals with indigenous themes have been painted by Mexican artists, brightening up some of the streets. The route we followed passed by these murals as well as many other pieces of eye-catching street art.
We met at the Plaza Luis Cabrera where we learned about the history of Colonia Roma and the recent events and then set off to photograph the different murals along the way. Some of the street artists have a recognizable style and sign using their name while others use initials or artistic names. The series of 8 murals, each representing one of the indigenous groups in Mexico, also made some reference to the two large earthquakes which damaged this area, an 8.0 magnitude quake which struck on 19th September 1985 and the recent one which occurred on exactly the same day 32 years later, 7.1 magnitude. Some of these indigenous groups were also badly affected by the recent earthquake in other parts of the country.
After that, we walked around part of Roma Norte, soaking up the laid-back atmosphere, and wandered along streets lined with cafés, restaurants and bookshops. There was more street art to shoot and we also passed some buildings damaged by the recent quake, including the one at Álvaro Obregon 286 which collapsed, killing 49 people. In the Plaza de Cibeles, a mural has been painted of Frida the rescue dog, who rescued more than 50 people.
Our route then took us along Calle Durango as far as a new mural of a huge purple and pink smiling “axolotl” or “ajolote”, an unusual type of salamander which is only found in the canals of Xochimilco in Mexico City and is in danger of extinction. After the walk, some of the group stayed on to have some Mexican food in one of the many restaurants we had passed earlier.