Valparaiso Chile street art graffiti girl

An Introduction to Street Art in South America

As a matter of artistic expression, it’s hard to not enjoy the colourful street art that has begun to take over the cities of South America. What possibly started as a political protest and was once thought of as a burden, many Latin American cities have embraced the murals and dedicated districts for the artists to create.  No longer just a tag of a name or graffiti of something illegible here is a list of a few cities with an incredible array of expression that is hard not to admire.

Valparaiso Chile street art graffiti

Valparaiso Chile street art graffiti girl Valparaiso Chile street art graffiti faces

Valparaiso, Chile

Found on the coastline, 115km from Santiago, Valparaiso has for a long time been the home to world class artists. Chile’s premier poet, Pablo Neruda, once had a home in the region, his house now is a museum that looks over the ever expansive Pacific Ocean.

His neighbourhood is an assortment of bohemian influenced features, with shacks and mansions equally clinging to the hillside as the city built up in all directions in a maze-like fashion.

Between the buildings, aging funiculars and twisting staircases whisk visitors from one mural gallery to another, but the best finds are in Templemen Street on Cerro Alegre.

Buenos Aires Argentina street art graffiti San Telmo Buenos Aires Argentina street art graffiti San Telmo Che GuevaraBuenos Aires Argentina street art graffiti

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Gaining notoriety for its street art scene, it is hard to imagine that not long ago the dictatorship that ran this country would imprison graffiti artists for their expression. These days, artists from around the globe have added to the outdoor galleries and have been encouraged by the democratic government that has since taken over.

From the meaningful to the beautiful, the streets in Buenos Aires contain some truly memorable pieces. Admire the colourful corners near La Boca, and look around outside the tango parlours of San Telmo. Buenos Aires is a city already known for a passionate dance and increasingly for its heartfelt creations on these walled canvases.

Rio De Janeiro Brazil street art graffiti face Marcelo Ment Rio De Janeiro Brazil street art graffiti Rio De Janeiro Brazil street art graffiti

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Street art in Rio has only been legal since 2009, but the Cariocas (a person hailing from Rio) have been hard at work. From the wealthiest of neighbourhoods in beach paradises such as Copacabana or Ipanema to the favelas that sprawl up the hillsides, Rio has gone from a city of grey walls to a city of colour.

During the recent World Cup and Olympics, numerous sports related themes were found across the city, as were campaigns to showcase local female residents in a Women are heroes project created by an international street artist named JR.

The project proved that street art was inclusive and diverse, and by being featured in areas that house people from all types of income brackets, it was an internationally acclaimed gallery accessible for everyone. You can check out more of Marcelo Ment’s street art.

While this list doesn’t include every street art destination in South America, it includes places we stop on one tour (along with plenty of other sites). Get up close to the above-mentioned street art capitals, and learn more about our small group tour to South America which visits Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

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