Panamá City is a city looking to find itself. What identity it once had lays shadowed beneath the towering behemoths of glass and steel that have filled the skyline over the last decade. The culture that was once a mosaic of Spanish, afro-antillean and indigenous- Latin in every which way- is quickly becoming an anachronism as the wealthy push Panamá to become a global, modern city; a benchmark by which all of Latin America will be measured.
And yet in the nooks and crannies of the callejones of the dilapidated barrios of old town one can find the growth of another culture, one that is purely Panamanian but shares in the expressive angst of youth from everyone continent of the world who struggle to retain a nationalist style amidst the ever-homogenizing effects of globalization. It's the art of the people. The murals they paint on crumbling walls and the songs written on street corners to an out of tune guitar. Created in a moment and lost in the next but I'm that brief span the story of a generation is told for a stranger's ear.
And this is Panamá- 500 years old and yet still in a growth spurt of adolescence. Where first world wealth resides but a block away from third world poverty. And a generation of youth who are trying to come to terms with it all, just trying to tell a story that's their own.