Limestone Canvas: Graffiti Rejuvenates Lisbon

Things to Do, What's New — By dianabaide on September 8, 2010 at 3:29 am

By Diana Baide

Lisbon is a city meant for the both the hungry artist, the urban art aficionado and, of course, the rest of us who just want to discover every corner of this urban canvas. Indeed the aging bleached white limestone buildings have served as the perfect place for underground urbanites armed with spray cans to expose their artistic talent. Displaying a full array of color, alleyways and main avenues illustrate different caricatured figures, political opinions, dissent, approval, and many times, a message that only the artist will know.

The amazing thing about graffiti is that it is unavoidable. It pervades throughout the public, making it very easily accessible. In Lisbon, graffiti is so prevalent that one might say you wouldn’t even have to go anywhere; graffiti will come to you from all sides. Covering up the city’s signs of age, graffiti has a very rejuvenating effect on Lisbon’s neighborhoods. Some readers may be a bit skeptical of what kind of graffiti I’m talking about, but fear not! Lisbon also holds a special flavor of graffiti—artistic and eye opening.

Portuguese artists come with brilliant ideas that are meant to catch the attention of anyone and everyone. One of the most famous pair of graffiti brigadiers are “Os Gemeos” or “The Twins” who have brought their Brazilian artistic upbringing to the streets of Lisbon. They’re style of graffiti represents that unique flavor of graffiti mentioned here. Just take a look at some of their works. So much talent covering the decaying walls of Lisbon, it’s a must see!

Artwork of Os Gemeos (Image: Flickr)

If you can’t get enough of Os Gemeos on the streets, you can definitely go see their work exhibited at the Museu Colecção Berardo in Lisbon. But hurry! The exhibition will only be up until September 19, 2010. In addition to Os Gemeos and their works of art, you might want to take a stroll into Bairro Alto into the world’s first Museu Efémero or Ephemeral Museum. The idea for this museum is to use the streets and walls of Bairro Alto as the exhibits for passers-by to enjoy. In addition, they also hold special street art events throughout the year. Because this is a museum without walls, its street art allows for a very easy ‘expansion’ of its perimeters, taking over new neighborhoods with color and character.

Gallery Opening Event in Bairro Alto

Another place you might want to check out is Fabrica Features, a very edgy gallery that exposes not only graffiti, but also a variety of street art and alternative pieces. The themes of their exhibitions range from titles such as “The Spirit vs. The Material” to “Let Me Wash the Chaos in Your Head.” It certainly sounds unique and intriguing.

Gallery Opening Event in Bairro Alto

Even if you don’t manage to visit an indoor gallery, strolling through the colorful streets of Lisbon will prove an amazing exhibit nonetheless. It takes nothing more than stepping outside to experience the brilliance in colors and characters. As Lisbon ages with the years, making it even more romantic and traditional, it also grows younger and more vibrant through graffiti, street art, and the alternative scene that pervade the city. Don’t miss out!

[photos courtesy of Diana Baide and Flickr]

Tags: Art, Graffiti, Outdoors, Walking tour