Over the years, street art has become a way for cities to revive neighborhoods; a means for artists to express themselves in a more public space; a platform for activists to broadcast their messages; a medium for brands to let their colours show. From Miami to Lisbon, to Melbourne, and everything in between, the world has become a large canvas to discover.
MURAL Festival Blog introduces #TravelTuesday, a street art destination content series, where each piece will explore an artsy city’s unique street art culture.
In the city of seven hills, walking might not be your go-to mode of transport. If renting a car, you are definitely missing out. Those steep streets hold numerous hidden pieces of art.
Well known as a destination spot for a street art scavenger hunt, Lisbon’s street art scene has been flourishing for decades. In the 70’s, Portuguese artists took the city as their canvas to express themselves, mostly motivated by political debates surrounding the era. While the murals inspired by the 1974 revolution disappeared over the years, Lisbon’s street art is still alive and well thanks to the city council. They saw early on the benefits of adding a colours to walls and façades, supporting local street artists with initiatives like the creation of the Galeria de Urbano Arte (GAU) and the CRONO Project.
Designed to regenerate the Bairro Alto, the GAU gave artists a legal place to create while respecting the neighborhood’s patrimonial and landscape values. Head to Bairro Alto, Calçada da Gloria and along the river to the South to discover the GAU’s series of legal murals created by local and international street artists.
Piece by Low Bros.
In addition to the regeneration of Bairro Alto project, the art gallery also launched the Muro Festival two years ago which brought many artists from Portugal and around the world to beautify the streets of Bairro Paddre Creuz and Marvila with over 50 new murals.
Piece by Felipe Pantone.
As for the CRONO Project, the popular event had a similar goal : commissioning artists to transform neglected buildings in the business district. Admire the artworks made by Blu, Vhils and many more well-known artists as part of the project on Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo, one of the most photographed street for its public art.
Piece by Blu.
Presently, the liveliest place for street art today in Lisbon must be Alcântara, an old industrial place in the West part of the city, transformed into a creative space called LX Factory. Filled with artworks from various leading Portuguese artists, such as Vhils, AkaCorleone, Mar and more, this area welcomes a great number of entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, freelancers, fashion designers and other creative minds.
Piece by Aka Corleone & Kruella d’Enfer.
As for the oldest street art pieces of the city, head out to the Amoreiras Graffiti Wall of Fame where some of the artworks date as far back as 1996.
Piece by Nomen.
Lisbon’s also home to one of the most reputed urban art gallery: the Underdog Gallery. Hosting shows for established and upcoming talents from around the world, the gallery is a must-see when exploring the city’s street art culture. Not to mention, they also offer guided tours to discover some of the most impressive interventions made as part of their public art program.
Piece by Finok.
In addition to being filled with amazing artworks, Lisbon is also home to many internationally known street artists such as Bordalo II, Vhils and Add Fuel, to name a few.
Notorious for turning waste into art as a critique to the consumerist world we live in, Bordalo II was born in the city and many of his “trash animals” can now be spotted in these streets.
Piece by Bordalo II.
As for Vhils, the established artist achieved his acclaim through Lisbon. With artworks reflecting the identity, Vhils became known for his one-of-a-kind carving technique.
Piece by Pixel Pancho & Vhils. | Photo Credit: © BrooklynStreetArt.com
Playing with the language of traditional tile design and the Portuguese tin-glazed ceramic azulejo, famous street artist, Add Fuel, is also Lisbon-born and his artworks are not to be missed when visiting the city and its surroundings.
Piece by Add Fuel.
To make sure you’re not missing anything, enroll in one of the many street art walking tours offered in the city or download the app “Lisbon Street Art”.