There is no doubt about it. Brazil is a country full of color.
And I guess there is no better city to experience the vast sea of hues and tonalities than Rio de Janeiro. The beach. The sky. The jungle. The morros (promontories). The favelas (slums). The more than a 100 type of fruits. The people. Even the sidewalks have wildly running patterns. Nothing is plain or simple in here.
Since the moment I set foot on Rio, I was surrounded by all these colors. In my way to the city from the airport (the ride took more than an hour), I was able to observe the surroundings with great detail. I guess the jetlag and a long amount of time on a confined space were taking a toll on me (or on my brain). While my head was resting on the seat, all the colors of the city appeared in front of me in the form of graffiti.
It was impossible not to notice it. It was everywhere. Stucked in traffic, walls, bridge columns, buildings, sidewalks, and even cars, where exploding with different designs. They looked like beings tattooed from head to toe.
The situation impacted me because I don’t think I have seen so much graffiti in such a short period of time before. I began to question myself. What this tells me about this country? Are residents eclectic? Disorganized? Disrespectful? Is this an unique form of cultural expression? Do they care about their city? About their country?
It is not wise to judge a place solely on a first impression. It is not my intention to reach conclusions without going to deeper levels. But it just got me thinking. Really. Because some of these displays were accompanied by words. Some were advertising their businesses. Some were inviting motorists to next’s weekend party. Some were hideous scribbles aiming to deteriorate a place. But other had insightful quotes. Social messages. Political satyr and critic. Some were pure pieces of art.
On the following days, I kept encountering graffiti. Near the Metro stations. Close to the historic center. Near the Botanical Garden. In front of the Maracana Stadium. Not even the glamorous Ipanema was exempt of it. A neighborhood park exhibits murals with great examples of street art.
What are your thoughts about graffiti? Can it be considered art in some cases? Is it an expression form?
My strolls around Rio took me straight to another form of unusual art. This time it was the turn of sand art. Now that I think about it, I have seen sand building contests on TV or on the newspaper. However, it was the first time I found myself in front of elaborate, huge sand confections.
At Copacabana, there are different individuals or groups (I don’t know what is the correct name) exhibiting their creations. I saw a lot of things like castles, fish, sharks, human figures, animals, etc. They were even promoting the movie “Rio” (for kids) with one of these figures. Take a look close looks on the following images:
After 10 days in Brazil, I can say the following: Brazilians are extremely creative. I witnessed all these expressions in Rio plus more in the artistic enclave of Parati. I have to admit the day to day big punches of color left me speechless. Because all this color come really from the inside, if you know what I mean. There will be nothing better than returning to Brazil to explore more tonalities, in different and new places.
Where have you found unusual art expressions? What country do you consider creative? Let me know in the comments sections below.
Note: if you want to take a look at cool graffiti in Sao Paulo go here: http://www.eveandersson.com/brazil/sao-paulo-graffiti
Stephanie of The Travel Chica has a beautiful post about graffiti in Buenos Aires: http://www.thetravelchica.com/2011/08/graffiti-art-buenos-aires/