By Emma Regolini
April 3rd, 2020
Colombian artist Gleo has made a name for herself outside of her hometown of Cali (Colombia) on the street art scene globally.
Growing up in a small tropical city of the Colombian Pacific, Gleo also known as Natalia Gallego, has found freedom in painting walls since she was fifteen as a form of self expression and political participation.
Gleo often recites her purpose for painting walls, streets or public spaces as a reflection of their accessibility and universal ownership. Gleo explains that the “word ‘public’ is very complex, this space belongs to everyone and no one.”
In recent years Gleo’s work has featured masked mystical beings and creatures often symbolising Latin American mythologies or cosmology. Her work captures these creatures in dream-like state through colour and the objects adorning them.
She cites that we often “dress up and put on a mask, trying to transcend a higher self.” It is true, that Gleo perfectly captures the perceived demigod state of mind in her work on a large scale.
A common thread between her past work includes historical objects or talismans as she draws inspiration from periods of antiquity and ancestral cultures. Her characters appearing transcendent in nature exude a sense of knowledge and spiritual power.
When commenting on the lifespan of each murals, Gleo goes back to the public ownership of each space and therefore it’s preservation is dependent on the inhabitants. With some murals lasting days, months or years, many street artists can agree that the fate of each piece is out of their individual control.
Gleo’s enchanting, captivating and colourful murals have taken over walls worldwide from Colombia to Peru and across Europe. As a prominent female Latin American artist, the world has fallen in love with Gleo’s blended composition of cross-cultural iconography and warm theatrical renderings.