Street art and protest under pandemic conditions in Colombia: A visual semiotic approach


This article engages in a visual critical semiotic analysis of Medellín street art and its interpretation as political action in the Colombian social mobilisation of 2021. I explore three epistemological turns towards a descriptive and contrastive methodology to contextualize street art and its transformative potential. Firstly, the spatial turn leads us to understand how space and street art function as a framework of life and conflict that challenges viewers socially and politically. Secondly, following Peirceʼs ideas, I reinterpreted some images. I explain how they function as theoretical objects related to indices, signs and symbols. According to Mitchell's image turn, the image functions as a significant semantic unit. Thirdly, I read the political turn based on Rancièreʼs works in which he equates the political and the aesthetic as an act of visibility, always existing together at a conceptual and substantive level, and with which emancipation is objective. The article does not try to argue whether street art has a transformative power as this has been widely discussed in the literature. The article looks at street art that appeared in the context of the social mobilisation of 2021-2022, and partially in the context of the recent pandemic as a social transformation, the fact of which was proven by the recent elections.


aesthetic learning, dissensus, social mobilisation, social transformation, spatial aesthetics

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Published : 2022-10-01

Blandón Gómez, H. (2022) “Street art and protest under pandemic conditions in Colombia: A visual semiotic approach ”, Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies, (37). doi: 10.15290/CR.2022.37.2.05.

Hernando Blandón Gómez
The Pontifical Bolivarian University, Medellín  Colombia

Hernando Blandón Gómez is a graphic designer who obtained his MA degree in Colombian literature in 2003 and his Doctoral degree with distinction in 2019, in the field of Philosophy at the Pontificial Bolivarian University, Medellin, Colombia. His research focuses on the study of the image and the meanings of spatial semiotic and political relations. Other academic interests include the study of semiotic perception in art and graphic design.