Whimsical, Wacky Public Art of Manizales, Colombia

Whimsical, Wacky Public Art of Manizales, Colombia
March 17, 2011 Lainie Liberti

We love Public Art!!!

Culture, expressed through public art, gives us a taste of the collective personality of a city. And the City of Manizales, Colombia has much to offer in the personality department.


Miro and I have spent almost three weeks here in Manizales, and want to share with you some of our impressions of this beautiful mountain side city. Manizales is the capital of Caldas district, better known as “My Manizales of my Heart”,  located in Mid-western Colombia, on the Andean cordillera. Manizales is tucked into the heart of ‘coffee country’ and drinking coffee here, is equal to breathing air. It’s just second nature.

Manizales is located  close to major cities, just  one hour from Pereira,  two hours from Armenia and five hours south of Medellin.

In my opinion, the social and physical atmosphere in Manizales very much resembles a small San Francisco with it’s hillside communities and steep streets spanning a variety of barrios. Manizales is a university rich town,  the home to 8 higher education institutions, lowering the city’s median age to around 20.

Perhaps the high altitude, the population of young excited students and lots of caffeine is why the this city’s public art is whimsical, wacky and playful!


One beautiful day last week,  Miro and I attempted to capture images of all of the wonderful public art that can be found throughout the city. We loved the challenge and discovered some unexpected surprises.. like a bull waking down the side of a building!!

Take a look and let us know what you think:

This worker is squatting in the middle of town.

Sculpture of a person riding in a cable car above the town.

Bucking Ox, with cable car in the background.

Man riding a horse (or is a sea horse?) on the side of a building.

Women with dog and stick. I’m not sure what the dog was doing, but hopefully she’s about ready to play fetch with the dog, not hit him with the stick.

Ode to goat with hearts.

I am not sure about this one, woman riding barrel with a jug of moonshine? Maybe she just came from the Home Town Pub across the street?

Bull defying gravity, walking down a side of a building. Yep, they do that in Manizales.

Um, man with stick?

Floating robed man offering a written document, or maybe a spell!  I think this guy stepped out of a D & D game.

Two figures. Wonder if the man with the stick is wondering why he’s not as colorful as the woman?

“Help me!! I am loosing my balance!”

And there’s a running dog. I don’t quite get the symbolism here.

Pope with an axe. Um…ok…

Ninja with an iron cross and two sticks. I’m at a loss.

Little boy and a dog. I’d guess the boy is waiting for his really large dog to poop?

Bull, cow and dog retreating from fountain. Yep, an every day scene here in Manizales.

Biologically correct, naked man pondering where he left his clothes, as he looks out a suspended window frame off onto the beautiful city.

How much is that doggy in the window?

Cloud walking girl.

This is the town’s only  historical relief, found in the center of downtown. It tells the story of the Spanish settlers and the interaction with the indigenous population.

Man in bondage, with chains.

This guy is totally suspended in the middle of downtown, along with his white horse and sword.

Skinny couple, Modigliani style.

This very contemporary sculpture is found in the center of park, just in front of a gothic church.

Girl in dress, riding a skateboard?

This is part of the monument of Manizales, which attempts to tell the city’s history.


  1. hsofia 10 years ago

    Wow! Great photos – that is a LOT of public art. I’ll be in Colombia next month for two months, roadschooling my little girl. I’m not sure if we’re going to Manizales … but my interest is piqued. I will have to look through some of the past posts to see if I can find out what’s keeping you there for three whole weeks.

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