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The world is divided in two categories of people: those who love murals and those who hate them, but, without any shadow of doubt, they really catch everyone’s eye. Especially, if we take a moment to stare at those in Lisbon, where its streets are a riot of colours.

Walking through the breath-taking murals of the capital of Portugal is like a time travel.

You can’t miss it!

Bordalo II, Racoon –

It all began in 2008, when the Departamento de Património cultural (Department of Cultural Heritage) gave life to the Galeria de Arte Urbana (Urban Art Gallery, GAU), as a result of a cleaning operation of the obscene writings on some buildings in Bairro Alto.

At the time, the plan of action was the preservation of the cultural heritage from the vandalism and the promotion of urban art. This is the reason why the GAU installed a set of panels at Calçada da Glória, creating an authorized space where professional artists could express themselves in a legal way

After a critical phase, mostly in the beginning, the GAU then reached a huge success among national and international creators belonging to the street art scene.

OsGémeos, Blu, Sam3, EricaIlCane, Lucy McLauchlan are a few of them who took part in the CRONO project by decorating the five facades of a building in Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo.

Seeing is believing!

Os Gémeos e Blu, CRONO project –

Thanks to its wonderful murals, which are now a symbol of the city, Lisbon became a sort of open-air museum.

Here we have some of the most famous areas where you can immerse yourself in a magic atmosphere.

Let’s start with the neighbourhood of Alfama. One of Lisbon's oldest area, which is situated between the Tagus River and São Jorge Castle. Even though its alleys are narrow, you will bump into murals and graffiti of impressive dimensions

Bairro Alto is another GAU’s piece of history. If the Alfama is the working-class district of the Portuguese capital, the Bairro Alto is the creative one, loved by artists who live and work here in numerous galleries. The easiest and most spectacular ways to reach this district are the two trams 'da Bica' and 'da Gloria', from which you can see every wall covered with stunning graffiti.

Talking about urban art, we must mention LX Factory and Village Underground.

The first one is a former industrial complex, now transformed into a museum. Strolling through its buildings, you’ll notice that its murals are, literally, works of art!

Near the colourful Lx Factory, there is the Lisbon Underground Village. A space inside the Carris museum where two old buses and fourteen shipping containers have been turned into creative spaces and a cafeteria. Think that it already hosts as many as 70 projects between photography, painting, music, film, audiovisual, design, illustration and street art.

Mister Piro -

The GAU is also the author of a top project called MURO_LX, the Lisbon Urban Art Festival. This festival is something unique where you can live different experiences: art interventions, guided tours, urban art workshops, lectures, musical performances, theatre, performing arts and shows.

Each edition of MURO_LX takes place in a different district of the city, providing the discovery of a new area through art by involving national and international masters.

The first edition was in 2016. It was held in the district of Padre Cruz in Carnide, the largest working-class neighbourhood in the Iberian Peninsula. The goal was to end an eight-year work cycle developed by the Urban Art Gallery, asking for the talent of the most renowned artists from all over the world.

The Empty Belly –

After the Padre Cruz district, in 2017 it was the turn of Marvila neighbourhood. The theme of that edition was "what if we built a wall to tear down others?"

For this reason, the festival, before its official start, created a virtual wall on where anyone, from across the globe, could make their own murals, graffiti, tags… It was a digital action to counter Trump's idea of raising a wall between the United States of America and Mexico.

Not only cans and paint were the stars of the MURO_Lx 2017, but there were also great musical moments, various workshops, skate lessons, hip hop meetings and cinema sessions.

Gleo -

In 2019, the third edition of the festival landed in Lumiar neighbourhood with Music as its theme. In particular, the original relationship between musicians and street artists.

Pantónio, Costah, Third, Glam, Peeta, Flix and Fulviet are some of the names that made interventions on walls, benches, vents and slopes. As well as artistic interventions, there were guided tours, workshops, street animation, conferences and of course… Lots of music!

Costah -

The last edition, until now, occurred in 2021. The participants were confronted with the theme “The wall that (re)unites us”, which was divided into three thematic areas set up within the Parque das Nações. The first was about “Multiculturalidade” (Multiculturality), that brought together the concepts of community, nations, cultures, and equality. The second, “Sustentabilidade” (Sustainability), underlined the improvement of the quality of life in the Portuguese capital thanks to the process of environmental requalification promoted by urban art. Finally, the third one dealt with “Cultura Urbana” (Urban Culture) and emphasised the gathering power of graffiti.

Do I still have to convince you?

by AB

for Dare Clan


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