Nicaragua: Street Artist “OBY” in Managua



"El Chapulín Colorado", OBY, Rotonda El Periodista, Managua (photo: Bernard Gordillo)

“El Chapulín Colorado”, OBY, Rotonda El Periodista, Managua (photo: Bernard Gordillo)

At some point in 2012, I was in a cab or a friend’s vehicle making the stressful enter-turn-exit maneuver at Managua’s El Periodista (“The Journalist”) roundabout, when all of a sudden I noticed something that struck me as a really great piece of poster art.

It was a depiction of El Chapulín Colorado (above), one of the beloved characters from the Mexican sketch comedy show Chespirito, which ran (on and off) from 1968–1995 and became famous throughout Latin America. However, there was one difference. Instead of the signature initials “CH” (first letters of Chapulín), located on the chest, the artist had placed his own three-letter moniker–OBY–which not only made it his own, but also identified with the character in some way.

As I passed that first time, and came to the realization of how special the piece was in context of other street art I’d seen in Managua, I made a mental note of its location and eventually returned to photograph it. From then on, I started keeping an eye out for OBYs, and I’ve now found quite a few.

Other Chespirito characters depicted in OBY’s poster art are Don Ramón and a parody of Charlie Chaplin as the iconic tramp.

I did find another Chespirito character, that of Quico, but not in Managua. Located some 45 minutes south of the capital, in the town of Diriamba, someone stenciled the face of Quico with the caption “Chusma!!” at the bottom of the front door to a residence.  It wasn’t signed, so I don’t know who to attribute it to, but I can imagine that they are part of OBY’s circle.

For now, OBY’s true identity remains a mystery to me, even though you can probably find him elsewhere on the web.

Here’s a gallery of the OBYs I’ve found, so far:

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