On the taxi ride from Ezezia International Airport to downtown Buenos Aires I remember driving past many large scale murals wondering about the process to make such a piece. That was three weeks ago and since then I have been blown away by the variety of art all over the city. It’s impossible to ignore and not to appreciate the professionalism and style of such works on the busy corner of Avenida 9 de Julio, a shop in Recoleta or an alley in San Telmo. But as much as I find myself admiring these beautifully pieces, I often find myself asking the question, what does it mean?
I quickly learned on a few walking tours with Graffitimundo and more recently with Buenos Aires Street Art Tours, most of the artists understand that their works are temporary which raises an even more tantalizing question, how does that work? Over the last two decades, most of the original murals of beloved artists such as, Blu, Jaz, Primo and others still remain today. Although graffiti has been popular in political propaganda since the 1960s, street art is a fairly new phenomena in Buenos Aires. This rapid proliferation of street art in Buneos Aires is also unique compared to other parts of the world because it’s located in nearly every neighborhood. What really stuck with me was the idea that art found around the city belongs to the public therefore everyone has access to enjoy it not just the rich or those who can afford it. It’s changing the way people look at art including me!
In addition to my newfound education about how street art has set a platform for artists to express themselves about the social injustice in Argentina it’s also interesting to understand the graffiti culture as a whole. Now as I walk around the city I will take the time to stop at murals on the street with a new sense of respect. I see Buenos Aires as a giant, outdoor museum with a rich history that continues to expand. For more information and feedback about tours with Graffitimundo and Buenos Aires Street Art Tours, check out TripAdvisor.