Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Writings On The Wall"- Lisbon Graffiti In Style

When I first came to this country, I was surprised at how much graffiti there is around Lisbon and most cities. To most people who aren't affiliated with graffiti in some way, it usually is a symbol of a poor or rough neighborhood and shameful that they are vandalizing and defacing public or private property. But as I've passed by a lot of graffiti here many times and began to look at it more closely, there is a significant amount that is not bad at all and actually quite artistic. When you think about it, there are so many extremely old buildings and walls here that are brown and gray and disgusting with age that they really could benefit from some color!

Take this one long wall near my neighborhood in Lisbon, that starts right after Amoreiras Mall and winds up into Campolide; this wall is where it seems the "Style Wars" take place. Or at least that's what I've come to conclude from what I've observed over time. Every year the wall is painted over and various graffiti artists or groups come and take a large section of the wall which they do up an impressive work to "represent" their people. Each one is like a puzzle, trying to figure out the hidden message or symbol of their words and illustrations with what is going on in their world. Some seem to have references to world issues while others represent loved ones that were lost or something completely abstract in itself. As I strolled down the sidewalk along the wall checking out each section and taking photos of some of my faves, it was like walking through an art gallery....with the best part of it being free! Below are some of the most memorable from this year's wall, some are a bit silly while others are quite moving:

Cool Dragon

Not sure what these little guys represent but I found it funny that the railing hit just the right spot from where I was standing to take the photo to censor a certain part on one :p
Somehow I believe they meant "humor", which is common to find misspellings here when people try to write in English..... though I could be wrong since the face does resemble a bit of a known Simpsons character (but with 3 eyes?)

The Shell gasoline sign caught my eye in this one
I like the bright colors and the shininess of this one.

"Poison" This was the largest mural on the wall, an obvious memorial to a member of this team who died....

“Even far away, you continue to be present, you woke up who was sleeping, to see the future that was in front. You drank from your own name and raised it so high that you have become impossible to reach….”

“Down here we continue to wait, we scream really loud that I wish you could be here! But what is time after all? Small fragments of life, at any moment everything could end. You lived it well, to everyone you touched, your magic lasts, your voice won’t shut up!! Thank you Miguel”

Well done and well written guys.