The streets of Santiago hold a collection of some of the most amazing street art imaginable. And, the city of Santiago has embraced this creativity to the maximum. While tagging and ill-focused efforts are discouraged, the eyes and skills of extremely talented artists from all over Santiago, Chile, and South America are welcomed with eager arms. Buildings, doors, windows, walls… any and all blank surfaces are waiting to be covered.
From paintings and spray paint to small glass chards or inked pieces of paper carefully planned and placed together, the variety and quality is truly astounding. Businesses ask for murals to create a representative and inviting front for their store. From auto repair shops to clothing stores to cafes and restaurants… the outside gives you an idea of what’s inside. It’s easy to understand, as this is way more appealing than a simple sign that says “hat store,” right?!
Each of the Santiago neighborhoods has a slightly different theme. Barrio Brasil is covered in crazy alien-esque paintings that I haven’t quite figured out. They are beautiful… and creepy. In Bellavista I’ve seen an abundance of absolutely gorgeous portraits.
All over the city exist spatterings of political conversation, past and present. Many represent the struggles still faced by the indigenous community while others voice the globally consistent political topics of oppression, human rights, and abuses of power. With Chile’s political history and the still very extreme, and opposing, viewpoints that exist today, the political messages found in some of this art is incredibly powerful.
Many other forms of public art appear in addition to the street art. Large sculptures and statues stand all around the city, the metro stations become a little bit more manageable with different art mediums in just about each one, and the sidewalks are scattered with ceramics.
I love the vibrant colors, and, as I wander these streets, trying to understand the story behind, I’ll continue adding to the facebook album… so check back!