Murals and Street Art ~ Decoration of the Built Environment

Mural by Salvador Bustamante, painted over by municipal authorities in 2018

Murals and Street Art

One need not go far in Loja to encounter contemporary art - many walls throughout the city are host to a variety of visuals.

The history of murals in Loja dates back into the 19th century with interior decoration of the churches. Murals have been used as a means to publically tell stories about history, religion, politics, and folklife since then. The contemporary art that we consider today as more "typical" large-scale muralistic decoration in the city began in the early 1970's.

You will still discover "official" (government sponsored) murals depicting historical figures and events, but the more exciting finds crop up in unexpected places - like temporary barrier walls around construction sites, people's privately walled gardens, playgrounds, and other unique areas. You will also come across interior murals in quite a number of buildings.

While some murals are permanent mosaics of tile, most use paint for the medium. The climate of Loja (year-round high humidity and brilliant sun) can have a negative impact on mural longevity. As you find ones you like I'd encourage you to photograph them as a year or two later they may show signs of premature aging.

The El Zañe art collective has made it their mission to make art available in public spaces. Watch for unannounced works to appear "overnight" throughout the city.

For Spanish readers who desire a detailed look at Lojano murals we recommend the 416 page (with 100 images) doctoral thesis titled "Muralism en Loja, Ecuador, Tomo I” by Elena Malo Martínez which is available at:

Mural created for 2017 Loja Artes Festival

Mural in Loja Skate Park, by Luis Miguel Cisneros Galindo (2018)


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