Lisbon’s stunning street art

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Discover some of Lisbon’s best street art

The first half of the 20th century saw Portugal stifled by a right-wing dictatorship, but the 1974 revolution resulted in an upsurge in politically motivated public art. By the time this trend had abated in the early ’90s, the arrival of traditional graffiti artists had taken up their forebears’ mantle. In recent years, Lisbon city council has actively supported street artists, and the advent of organised efforts such as ‘Underdogs’ and the CRONO Project – as well as the emergence of homegrown artists like Vhils (see interview p52) – has attracted a high-profile roster of international names to the city. Today, Lisbon is one of the best locations in the world to experience street art in all its forms.

Many of the city’s street art gems can be found in and around the Bairro Alto area, with key hotspots including a series of legal walls along the Calçada da Glória, as well as along the river to the south. One of the most famous and photographed locations is the series of dilapidated buildings on the Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo, although these are earmarked for eventual demolition – a common situation for a transient artform so closely linked to gentrification. Keep in mind that Lisbon isn’t known as ‘the city of seven hills’ for nothing – plan your route carefully!

Braço de Prata and Marvila
For some of Lisbon’s best street art, head to the neighbourhoods of Braço de Prata and Marvila in the city’s east. Full of crumbling warehouses, these former industrial areas have escaped the waves of gentrification that have swept Lisbon. Fábrica do Braço de Prata has been converted into a cultural centre, and both the factory and the walls along Avenida Infante Dom Henrique are covered in graffiti and murals. Don’t miss the Underdogs Gallery (www. under-dogs.net), a short walk to the east. Also check out an installation of azulejos (Portuguese tin-glazed tiles) by French artist Olivier Kosta- Théfaine (Rua Doutor Estevão de Vasconcelos 36).

Alcântara
Industrial Alcântara, in the west of the city, has seen a major urban renewal. LX Factory (www. lxfactory.com) is a cultural hub where you can see work by some of Portugal’s leading street artists such as Add Fuel, Mar, ±MaisMenos± and Mário Belém. Nearby, Village Underground Lisboa features a vast anamorphic mural by Portuguese visual artist AkaCorleone. The area also showcases one of the finest wall carvings by Vhils, Lisbon’s most famed street artist. Many main buses and trams stop at the hub in Largo do Calvário; the Alcântara Mar train station is also nearby.

Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo
This central avenue is where some of the most significant murals were created between May 2010 and May 2011 as part of the CRONO project. Start from the corner of Rua Andrade Corvo: the first building features a piece by Brazilian artists OSGEMEOS. On the second building, spot a mural by Spanish artist Sam3. The third building features a composition by Italian artist Ericailcane, and a piece by English artist Lucy McLauchlan. This area is accessible from metro station Picoas.

Amoreiras Graffiti Wall of Fame
This is Lisbon’s oldest art wall, stretching along Rua Conselheiro Fernando Sousa and Rua Marquês de Fronteira. The first group of artists began working here in late 1994 and there is a small area located in its northeast corner that still features original paintings dating back to 1996. Take the metro to Rotunda (Marquês de Pombal) and walk up Avenida Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco.

Artist: Aryz/Photo: Jonathan Bullman

Parque das Nações-Oriente
This modern district, in the east of the city along the Tagus River, is home to three major urban art interventions, all along Via Recíproca. The first is an impressive mural composition by Italian artist PixelPancho, created in 2013 as part of the Underdogs Public Art Programme; the second a delicate composition signed by Brazilian art collective Novecinco; and the third a vast composition by American duo Cyrcle. The area is well served by public transport; metro station Oriente is across the street from the murals.

Bairro Padre Cruz
In May 2016, Lisbon’s Galeria de Arte Urbana (GAU), organised Festival Muro, inviting artists to paint Bairro Padre Cruz’s walls and façades. The festival transformed the neighbourhood into a street art bonanza, tallying up more than 50 murals by Portuguese and international artists. Take the metro to Pontinha station and walk up Rua Regimento de Engenharia 1 and Estrada da Circumvalação.

Extract taken from Lonely Planet’s latest gift book Street Art (April 2017; £14.99), © 2017 Lonely Planet

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