#979. The Street and Protest Art of Oaxaca

By Stephen Cysewski | Travel Photography

Mar 16

My daughter and I went to an eight day workshop during the Oaxaca Day of the Dead Celebration Oaxaca Mexico: October 25-November 5th 2019, we came early and left late in order to do our independent wandering.


I travel with my daughter to many locations, from Japan to Poland. It is a joy to travel with her because she is very organized and we share similar ideas about what and how to explore.


The workshop was excellent because we were embedded in the culture of Oaxaca. We visited families, craft workshops, and many markets. My daughter and I also went on some local walking tours. To find out information about the workshop here is the link.  https://www.alexcoghe.com/teaching/


The photo website that I created really is designed to share our experiences. http://www.cysewski.com/america/Oaxaca/index.html


I used a Lumix GX9 with the 15mm 1.7 lens, a 25mm 1.8 Olympus Lens, and a Panasonic 12-35mm 2.8 lens. Most of the photographs were taken with the 15mm lens. I wished the GX9 had a better Electronic Viewfinder, but other then that it was fast and discrete and was ideal for the kind of photography that I do.


Oaxaca has many indigenous cultures that are reflected in the celebrations and in the politics. I was fascinated by the political graffiti, the cultures and the diversity of the experiences. Getting out of town also deepened our experiences. I highly recommend figuring out a way to get to know local people and people with local knowledge. The Alex Coghe workshop was excellent, the walking tours were valuable and doing research before we arrived enhanced our understanding.


There were some specific protests that helped to ground the street art into specific events. 


Having some grounding in the cultures and the conflicts added an important dimension to our exploring.


Oaxaca, especially during the Day of the Dead Celebration is a rich and diverse photographic environment. 


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  • jean pierre guaron says:

    Good graffiti IS street art – and speaking purely for myself, I rather like it. Bad graffiti is simply vandalism, and done by destructive morons. Stephen, you were very lucky to see this display – the only place I’ve been to with a similar range of quality street art is Paris, but I guess that simply means I should travel more. (Which I was going to do, in May, until this blasted virus blew up all over the world)

    The Mexican street artists bring a whole new flavour to the genre! Your photos remind me of a recent exhibition here – 12 photos, and practically all of them completely blew me away – when I finally staggered out of the exhibition, I told the manager that If I’d been asked to judge them, I would have had to give 6 of them equal first prize. Looking at your photos, I simply cannot make up my mind which one I like best.

  • Sean says:

    Hi Stephen,
    Great article and overview of both your and your daughters photographic experiences in Oaxaca Mexico. I do like your advisory, and I quote “… Getting out of town also deepened our experiences. I highly recommend figuring out a way to get to know local people and people with local knowledge…”. I also like the words “… The Mexican street artists bring a whole new flavour to the genre!…” that are used by Mr Guaron. Myself, I’d love to do such a trip to Mexico, but, to date, your article and images form a wholesome substitute, for me. Well done.

  • Robert Sessions says:

    I love street artwork, so I was especially fond of those you and your daughter found, Stephen. I have many friends on Instagram from around the world and I am delighted to find excellent public artwork many places. I was in Oaxaca two decades ago and had a fascinating time exploring many of the places you picture. Thanks for the memories, and thanks for a lovely set of photos.

  • Paul Watson says:

    Very Cool … I am not sure if you know that many Urban legends and folklore are depicted in graffiti. I noticed a lot of pretty interesting scenes in Rio De Janerio, I asked around and there are some very interesting stories than merge from just one small detail of a graffiti piece. nicely done

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