Lonely Planet Writer

An abandoned Colombian rum distillery is turned into graffiti museum

For the love of art and nature, world-renowned street artists have converted an abandoned rum distillery in the jungles of Colombia into the world’s greatest graffiti museum.

World-renowned artists convert Colombian distillery into art museum. Photo by: ArtDistilled

The unique project is called #ArtDistilled and was conceived by Dictator Art Masters, a foundation whose primary goal is to promote art in both traditional and radical ways. According to a press release, the first painting event occurred in May 2018 where internationally acclaimed urban artists Ben Eine and D*Face (UK), Toxicomano, Stinkfish and Erre (Colombia), and M-City and Monstfur (Poland) made the journey to begin painting the huge metal canvas of pipes, tanks and industrial equipment with colourful, imaginative murals and pieces.

Old Colombian distillery is now a graffiti museum. Photo by: ArtDistilled

At the end of January, a second painting session took place. Invited guests included Gleo and Chicadania (Colombia), Cranio (Brazil), Nychos and Shue77 (Austria), Faith 47 (South Africa), Daleast (China), TomBobNYC (USA), PixelPancho (Italy), MadC1 (Germany), Pez (Barcelona), Toxicomano, Erre and M-City.

The curator of the project, Mariusz Waras (aka M-City), says, “Not only will this become one of the most important places on the urban art global map, but it will also certainly be the most magical and mysterious one as well.”

♯ArtDistilled: urban artists turn abandoned rum distillery into graffiti art gallery in Colombia. Photo by: ArtDistilled

The distillery is hidden between the rainforests of the Perijá and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain ranges in northern Colombia – a region that is home to several vulnerable ecosystems and an astonishing number of endemic and endangered species such as the jaguar or birds like Santa Marta Parakeet or Blue-bearded Helmetcrest. For Dictator Art Masters, “We are privileged that our Graffiti Museum lies in an important ecological corridor between these two endangered environments and we do not intend to waste that privilege.” Therefore, once the entire project is completed, each artist will donate a canvas to the foundation. These canvases will go on a world tour, and eventually be auctioned off. All of the proceeds will go towards a nature conservation charity.

By raising conservation awareness of this region and its extraordinary biodiversity, “We hope to be able to play our part in ensuring that the most irreplaceable places on earth never have to be replaced,” they conclude.

By Jacqui de Klerk