Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Post 5: Art in the Streets

So Chile is a country with spectacular natural beauty, but I have noticed a lot of human-made art here as well, in particular, public art and street art. Valparaíso is famous for its street art, and the between the paintings, messages and house colors, it is a city that explodes with color. Valpo has a “Open air Museum,” a guided walk past 20 murals done by professional modern artists in the 1990s. I didn’t bring my camera when I went, but I can tell you that it was pretty cool!

Some examples of street art in Valparaíso:

I love this mosaic. It’s also a good example of how not all of the street art is paint based.

Beautiful mural with themes about the Mapuches, the most famous indigenous Chileans.

One of my favorite things about all of this art is that it’s very dependent on location. The art interacts with the elements present, decorating cracks in the sidewalk, and changing the way you see the buildings and streets. One famous example (that again I didn’t take a picture of, oops) is a staircase in Valpo painted to look like a piano.

Viña del Mar has a lot of street art too! This is an example of the artist adjusting to the setting, decorating the otherwise drab electric poles.

This is kind of hard to see, but an electric wire was broken, so someone fashioned it into a noose shape. Someone (or possibly the same person) wrote mokingly, “Do you have problems?” pointing to the noose. This is typical of the interaction between the enviornment and art. (In Valpo)

The consensus here is that there is a big difference between street art and grafitti, the scrawling signatures and lude words that also appear on the side of almost every building. Street art, although usually amateur, often has a lot of complexity and can be quite beautiful. The grafitti is well, just grafitti.

The right foreground is street art, where the rest are grafitti tags. (In Valpo)

Finally, much of the art includes written messages. Ususally the message has something to do with being creative, finding yourself in nature or something else inspiring and well-worded. Sometimes they are more overtly political, usually leftist and pro-student. And sometimes they are just hilarious, such as one which reads “¡Viva las mujeres peludas!” or “Long live hairy women!”

This quote translates to “The TV is a disguise for those who have the power!” (in Viña)

I went to Santiago recently and there was a ton of public art as well! This, for example, is inside of a subway station! Each subway has its own décor and they are great scenery while waiting for the train.

The mural is based on the history of Chile. Also as a side note the Metro in Santiago has a bad reputation but I found it clean and efficient.

I love art of all kinds and living here has made me appreciate those who add art into urban environments, brightening up cities and inspiring others to think and create.



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