Street Art in Lisbon
It didn’t surprise us to learn that Lisbon was home to a thriving street art scene. This is known as a somewhat anarchic city, with a large population of struggling, disaffected youth, and a fairly permissive culture. That’s the perfect combination for excellent graffiti: political, angry, sarcastic, weird and often beautiful. During the course of our stay in Lisbon, we’d discover something new every time we stepped outdoors.
We’ve highlighted street art in many of the locations we’ve visited, starting with Buenos Aires way back in 2011. But this worldwide phenomenon is well past its infancy, and we’re started to suspect that it’s already past its prime. You can buy Banksy’s art at auctions, for Christ’s sake, and everyone who considers themselves an “artist” is running around with ironic stencils. It’s gotten a little lame. Our personal fascination with street art ended after visiting Montreal’s Mural Festival, where corporations and banks were sponsoring artists in an attempt to co-opt their cool. Puke.
So Lisbon’s scene has been refreshing. There are definitely large-scale, sponsored works to be found in the city, but there’s also a lot more punk graffiti: stuff that’s not meant to be pretty, but provocative, like unicorns puking rainbows with their middle finger up at the EU’s austerity measures, and hilariously evil anti-Airbnb screeds.
Above all, though, we found Lisbon’s street art to be insanely imaginative. Take a look, and see if you disagree!