You’ll see his art everywhere around Colombia: large women, round-faced children and wide-eyed animals. It’s the life work of Fernando Botero, the beloved Colombian artist famous in his home country and around the world.
A visit to Medellin, where Botero was born, provides the chance to see these works in larger-than-life surroundings. The appropriately named Botero Plaza, opened in 2002, is an outdoor park that forms an important cultural space in the city. It’s also close to other important museums, like the Museum of Antioquia with art from all over Latin America, and the Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture, where exhibitions and concerts are held.
The 80,729 square feet (7,500 square meters) of Botero Plaza are home to 23 giant bronze sculptures (donated by Botero himself) within reach so that people can touch them—some people even climb on them! These sculptures, created using the lost wax method, are organized into five main types, focusing on body parts; relationships between men and women; animals; and mythic creatures like the sphinx. The sculptures tend to have short names that are direct and dynamic, like Woman with Fruit, The Hand, Man on Horseback, Maternity and Roman Soldier.
The busy plaza is also a great place to try local foods, like obleas, empanadas and green mango cut in strips and served with salt and vinegar. It’s also a good place to browse for souvenirs and do some serious people-watching.