AN INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL PLATFORM FOSTERING CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ARTISTS, THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND CITIES
Underdogs is a cultural platform based in Lisbon, Portugal, created to give voice to avant-garde urban artistic languages. It works with a diversified roster of Portuguese and international artists connected with the urban-inspired contemporary art universe, fostering the development of close relationships between creators, the public, and the city. Established in 2010 and consolidated in its present form in 2013, Underdogs encompasses a gallery with two exhibition areas, a public art programme, the production of artist editions and the development of commissioned art projects
Underdogs Art Store, located inside a large warehouse in Marvila, is the perfect combination between an art hub and an artist residency.
The coffee-shop on the ground floor is the perfect setting for you to socialise, meet their team, or even the guest artist who is working at the artist residency space upstairs. There they organise workshops on art techniques, talks, and lectures. You will also have access to their artist editions, original artworks, and a range of other Underdogs products.
It is also the point of departure and arrival for their guided tours to the artistic productions that are changing the landscape of Lisbon. The underdogs website also includes an online map showing the murals created so far in Lisbon. These are iconographies that embrace forgotten areas of cities, signs of vitality and hope that want to make possible urban changes evident through art.
Public art is Underdog’s core but, what do you come to mind when you hear the phrase “public art”? It is art that can be displayed in the public realm in the form of murals, sculptures, memorials, integrated architectural design, and even performances and festivals. Unlike street art, public art is commissioned by governments or property owners and is considered culturally enriching, as well as socially accepted. It is common for artists to use public spaces to demonstrate themes and raise awareness of causes.
Underdogs promotes urban art forms, leaving room for creativity. This has resulted in streets that are open-air museums.
Portuguese writers are internationally known and artists from all over the world go to Lisbon to create their works there. It is also a way to go beyond the more traditional (and perhaps better known) side of the city, discovering other facets of this increasingly dynamic and cosmopolitan capital.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, the Underdogs Public Art Programme, which has been transforming public space in Lisbon since 2013 in partnership with the Galeria de Arte Urbana (GAU) and the Lisbon Municipality, is revealing a new format, where artists are invited to create work that raises awareness about climate change – arguably the most important challenge facing humanity in the 21st Century.
In the following image, the Portuguese artist Confeere focuses on the theme of technology, more specifically exploring how it can distance people from reality. Constructed through the use of recyclable textiles, it is also an appeal for the transition of the textile community to a circular economy, thus contributing towards sustainable development and tackling the problem of waste. According to the artist, we are increasingly alone and turned towards the screens of the various technological devices we have access to, thus abstracting from what is going on around us. This has quickly changed from a distraction to an addiction.
Another example could be seen by the following urban art intervention created by the French Julien Raffin: an ongoing reflection surrounding breathless human evolution, modernization and industrial progress, and the impact these developments have had on natural ecosystems. Questioning the gap between the bright future that was initially planned for our species and the planet and reality we have been living over the past 80 years, it explores the challenges that face humanity today and the urgent need for reinvention.
The mural features one of Portugal’s most recognizable landmarks, the “25 de Abril'' bridge, a name that reflects the date of the revolution that set the country free from 48 years of dictatorship. It represents values of freedom and connection, echoing the desires of open-minded people who believed in a brighter future. It is a message of hope supported by social and industrial progress. A testament to the idea that nothing is gained without tolerance, resilience and love shared as a united community, and how our everyday actions are what cultivate and preserve this legacy.
At Underdogs, they believe in promoting art in the city as a public service. With the goal of establishing a close relationship between the artists, they work with the city of Lisbon, and its inhabitants. The Underdogs Public Art Programme has been contributing towards transforming the landscape of their city for the benefit of all, helping to turn art into an everyday experience. Underdogs specialises in high-profile public art and offers Lisbon's best public-art tours on a sporadic, by-appointment-only basis. You can see many pieces of iconic art around the capital and learn about the history of the city and this art form, through the various art interventions you witness. It's a highly informative and cool way to explore Lisbon's urban art scene with a very engaged and enthusiastic staff that share its knowledge with passion.
Go to visit this sort of incredible open air art exhibition, going to hidden and secluded places, you’ll come away much wiser than you arrived. Don’t miss this amazing public art tour with the most acclaimed worldwide artists! It’s definitely a must do for anyone interested in urban art, especially when the background is the beautiful city of Lisbon. What are you waiting for?
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