“Artists don’t create society, they reflect it.” - Ben Elton
The walls speak in the historical center of Cuidad de Mexico (CDMX). They tell a story of struggle, rebirth, and creativity. Ubish and Ninelth from the experience company, Mexico Underground, really helped me to experience this story and understand where the art is coming from.
We kicked off the tour with one of the two food stops to get a delicious fresh smoothie! For the first time in my life I tried a Mamey Smoothie (Mamey, milk, hazelnut). It has such a distinctive taste, sort of like a sweet and creamy avocado.
The smoothie gave us the fuel to wander through the city. As we walked, we saw the transformation of Street Art. We saw its origins in the simple tags, and graffiti vandalism, and then, a few blocks further, we saw it transform into beautiful street art commissioned by the city. The commissioned murals tell a story of the neighbourhood and of Mexico’s history.
It is very rewarding to learn through observation. I was able to take my time to look and put the story together for myself. My favourite art piece that I saw on the walk was one by Seher One. that featured the evolution of Mexico City, their indigenous history, as well as current events like the earthquake of 2017.
Our second food stop was to a local shop in the historic center to try Coyotas. It is two halves of a bun with refried beans, one covered in green sauce, the other in red sauce, topped with tortilla chips, crema and queso! They definitely had a kick to them but just enough so you can continue enjoying the meal.
After we refueled, we wandered through the streets learning more about how the city encourages street art by sponsoring works and also festivals like Meeting of the Styles that brings artist from all over and paint murals in the city. According to Ubish and Ninelth, the recent festival that took place brought many new murals to the city.
As we wound through the streets and discovered new murals from the recent festival, we found our way to a tortilla factory. It was one of my favourite activities of the tour, because I found it interesting to see how the machine cut, baked, and stacked the tortillas to be ready to be sold right then and there.
Our last stop of the tour was a visit to a gourmet market. This market is a one-stop shop for restaurants around the city to find exotic fruits, meats, cheeses and spices from all over the world. It was a great place to end the tour because there were tons of delicious stands to grab a second lunch!