When the artists take the city: Panama’s visual arts awakening

This month of May Panama City is experiencing the first Bienal del Sur, an international art project that aims to stimulate cultural development and promote new trends in the visual arts. Under the slogan “Summoning Worlds” artists from over 160 different countries have taken over the city, transformed public spaces with installations and colors, and invited locals and visitors alike to come and see things a bit differently.

Five hundred years ago, Vasco Núñez de Balboa spied the South Sea and made a discovery for humanity. Likewise, today the founders of this project hope that through the medium of visual art they can create new insights to the world and new spaces to hold encounters for constructive creativity and culture.

The Bienal del Sur is just one of many creative projects happening here these days: The city where the oceans meet is becoming a meeting point for young artists and creative projects, reflecting on the cosmopolitan spirit and intercultural nature of Panama

We at EcoCiruitos have followed this development with much excitement, and are happy to share the creative side of our city with our visitors: Through the new “Panama City and Art tour”. During this tour you will explore the City of Panama, its museum of Contemporary Art, discover examples of art in public spaces and visit a Panamanian Gallery/Art school.

Here you can discover the works of such renowned artists as Achu, who combines his Kuna heritage with contemporary styles.

As he himself explains:

“As a human being of the 21st century with deep roots in Kuna ancestral culture, I integrate symbols from many different communities and realities into my work. My process is one of fusion: I fuse the sacred symbols found in Kuna pictographs, traditional rites and ceremonies with those found in other indigenous
cultures and also in urban culture, recodifying them to create my own visual language… to communicate the chaos and environmental and visual contamination
we face today.”

Your tour will finish with the possibility to express your impressions of Panama City in the way of the artists as you are invited to take a painting class with the experienced instructors and artists of the Huellas Gallery and Painting School.


Articel by Meret Schueschke

Kuna Yala – Forests, Culture, amazing Islands and Beaches

The Paradise on Earth

Anne Kehmeier

Early in the morning we left Panama City to begin our one-day adventure in Kuna Yala, also known as San Blas. We went by car to Kuna Yala, which was one of the best choices during the trip as the countryside is marvelous and the route is very interesting. We passed through the impressive forests and crossed several small and big hills which created feelings close to rollercoaster rides. The route was very fascinating; we were almost the only car as far as the eyes could see. It felt like a world disconnected from the rest of the planet. After the three hour ride we arrived at the pier where we met the local guide. We boarded a motor boat and started our trip around the amazing archipielago of San Blas or Kuna Kingdom. Firstly, we visited a small village of Carti. We got to know many local kuna people and explored the village and learned about their daily life on the island. We visited for example the school, the library and saw the museum of culture of the Kuna people and so we experienced the friendly attitudes and curiosity of the local people. It was very exciting to see how the Kuna people organize their lives, for example by designing the traditional Molas, made by the Kuna women, which are really beautiful. We continued our trip to one of the other paradisiacal islands where we enjoyed the pure and white sand and the ocean of dazzling turquoise and clear water, a paradise barely describable. We had the opportunity to swim and relax a bit in the wonderful water and to explore the nearby coral reefs close to the island. After this small break we kept on with the trip and crossed the ocean to different other islands. After arriving at the island El Perro or Achu we had nice and traditional lunch in a locally Kuna owned restaurant. The lunch consisted of a delicious meal of fresh fish, coco rice, salad and patacones (fried plantain) and fresh watermelon as dessert. In the afternoon we had some time to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the island. We also had some time to explore the small island by walking around and by taking some amazing pictures. Then, after this wonderful day in paradise, we headed back to the pier and started the way back to Panama City.