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The Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INAC) has given restaurant Monolo Caracol 5 days to remove a mural painted on the front of their restaurant by one of Panama’s most renown artists, Rolo de Sedas.

The document sent states that “The mural must be removed and / or cleaned immediately. Failure to comply will be subject to the penalties established by Decree No. 51 of 22 April 2004, Article 231 of the Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Restoration and Rehabilitation of Casco Viejo in Panama City, Panama and result in a penalty of up to $ 5,000. This is supported by Article 195 of the same manual that says “paining signs or other graphic expression on the walls is not permitted.”

But it’s a bit ironic which organization is claiming that the mural must be removed: Panama’s Institute of CULTURE. I thought that an institution of culture would actually be a group that supports artwork, especially something created by an iconic Panamanian artist.

Street art at the entrance of Casco Viejo
Street art at the entrance of Casco Viejo

There are several other murals and street art around Casco Viejo that were done by other artists (INAC says these were pre approved during the Bienal in 2013) and the artwork helps to give Casco some character, creativity, and culture. Do an Instagram search for #cascoviejo or #cascoantiguo and you will find lots of photos of street art around Casco Viejo. Tourists and locals love to take pictures of the art to show off the unique place they are in so why eliminate something that people enjoy?

The removal of the mural has been a hot topic on social media with tons of supporters for leaving the mural up, one of the supporters being Panama’s first lady:

I would personally love to see more street art in Casco Viejo and throughout Panama City so I hope they can come to an agreement to leave the mural up.

Do you think the mural should stay or go? Leave a comment below:

UPDATE: The mural was painted over on Friday, Nov 14 🙁

Experience Panama


I'm Joey, a guy from Louisville, Kentucky that packed up and studied abroad in Panamá at the age of 20 and haven't moved back since. What started as a semester trip to Panamá has turned into 10+ years of living in Latin America and becoming a full-time travel blogger. I now rotate between living in Panama City, Bogotá, and Lima. Follow me on Instagram @joeybonura for more updates on my life abroad!

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