Monday, September 20, 2010

Diablos Rojos' Art

Who can not recognize a Diablo Rojo (Red Devil)? In Panama City, our public transport consists mainly of these imported school buses painted in red, agressively driven by madmen (hence the name). I have to admit that not all of them deserve this reputation, but the name is so popular that hardly any driver will be upset if you call his "ship" a Diablo Rojo. Despite its roughness, its noisy engines, the loud music and some security issues, they are also known by the colourful designs that exhibit in many parts of its body. These artistic designs are not randomly painted in the bus' body... each part is designated to a specific motive. For example, the sides are reserved for the bus name along with a painting of a landscape or a fight or fantastic scene, the fuel lid is designed allusive to food or feeding; the back (or emergency) door usually shows a portrait of a relative, a politician, a Hollywood star (yes, like Angelina) or a rap/reggae singer; a landscape always fills the front part above the windshield; both bumpers are scripted with hilarious or religious messages and the battery lid must shows something allusive to power or to 12 Volts! But one of the parts that exhibit the greatest diversity of themes is definitively the motor lid. We usually don't see it because is too high, but from my apartment (at a fourth floor), it became very apparent. Here is only a TINY sample of all the motives that I photographed in about 30 minutes. I grouped them into themes: first, the "religious" theme (or "kind of religious" theme sometimes).One of my favorites, the "mystical" theme... usually showing wizards, sorceresses, monsters and/or legendary creatures.Also, the "eagles & flags" theme is quite common.Some exhibit cartoons characters, mostly Looney Tunes, but also comic heroes.Others exhibit TV characters, like The Undertaker or Jason.Finally, the women could not be absent (of course, I'm showing only the "decent" ones, usually warlike ladies).This is art in its most popular expression!
P.D.: the end is near for Panama City's Diablos Rojos due to a new transport system that is about to be implemented, so "enjoy" them while you can!

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