The desire to leave your mark is a strong one. It has captured man’s imagination from prehistoric times to the present day. Whether it’s a basic hand print, a scrawled message on the school desk (I bet you did!), an amateurish daub or an intricately executed design, all offer a chance to leave an imprint, maybe one that will last for generations to come.
Older works gain in stature with the passing of the years. Think of ancient rock art dating back several centuries, scenes depicting animals encountered, drawn so clearly they could have been made yesterday, which makes their great age all the more awe-inspiring. There are fine examples to be seen in the caves in South Africa’s Drakensburg Mountains and the Tsodilo Hills of Botswana.

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Decorating walls with pictures and patterns has long been a form of decoration. You see examples all over the world, for instance in the grand haciendas of Ecuador and the palaces of Rajasthan. So next time you watch a toddler gleefully approaching a wall armed with a pen or crayon just think of it as part of a time-honoured tradition of interior design!

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These are especially fine. Beautiful colours in a bedroom at San Agustin de Callo built on the site of an Inca Palace at the base of Cotopaxi volcano, and part of a fabulous procession that adorns the wall in by the main entrance at Rohetgarh in rural Rajasthan, one of India’s leading Heritage hotels.

It’s a tradition that continues today. Here are some more recent examples we’ve spotted on our travels around the Tribes world.

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The first can be seen at Finca Rosa Blanca, a hotel owned by an artist and set in a coffee plantation overlooking Costa Rica’s central valley, a vivid portrayal of the country’s lush landscape. The second is one of many murals painted by contemporary Peruvian artist Frederico Bauer at Sol y Luna Hotel, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

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And for a bold modern take on the mural, try this! We’re back in Costa Rica, this time on the south Caribbean coast at the undeniably chic Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, which brings us bang up to date.

Mind you, this isn’t exclusively a human activity: animals have been known to get in on the act too. Witness this fine specimen photographed on a walking safari from Pafuri Camp on a private concession within the Northern Kruger National Park.

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Can you guess the artist?

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Yes! Salvador Ele!