Rio de Janeiro: A Mecca for Street Artists

I love street art. But I really love Brazilian street art. And I think you will too after you see the photos I took during my trip to Rio de Janeiro last year.

Street art is a well respected, and celebrated art form in Rio de Janeiro. It only became legal in 2012, but street artists have been flocking to this colorful city for years. Rio de Janeiro has become a Mecca of sorts for street artists, who are constantly pushing the boundaries of their creativity. The streets of Rio showcase unique and accessible art, ranging considerably in style, imagery, message, mood, size, color, symbolism, and location.

Here are 3 of my favourite street art-covered walls in Rio de Janeiro:

1. Christ and the Dove of Peace

I discovered this masterpiece while riding the Trem Corcovado downhill from the Christ The Redeemer site. This image is hidden away in the forest, but it’s seen my thousands of tourists each week. It’s a rather joyful, and modern take on the imagery which is traditionally used to portray Christ, and the Holy Spirit. In the top right corner of the image, “Eu vos farei pescadores,” appears to refer to Mathew 4:19 of The New Testament. In this verse, Jesus says, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Street Art of Jesus Christ at Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro - from MariaTiramisu.com #streetart #riodejaneiro #jesus #corcovado

Jesus and the dove of peace – street art at Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. ©2014 MariaTiramisu.com

2. Child Feeding Fish

The following photo was taken at the outdoor gym at Arpoador Beach, which is located in between Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach. The creepy child-like person feeding the fish definitely caught my eye from a distance.

Street art at the outdoor gym at Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janeiro - from MariaTiramisu.com #streetart #riodejaneiro #rio #arpoador #brazil #beach #gym

Street art at the outdoor gym at Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janeiro. © 2014 MariaTiramisu.com.

It’s also common to see street art on the walls of private property. Apparently, street artists are often hired to beautify large private walls, and attract visitors. It’s also common for artists to reach out to the owners. According to Brazilian law, street art is legal as long as the street artist has obtained permission from the wall’s owner.

3. King of the Sea

This is one of my all-time favorite walls. I took this photo while walking through the Forte Copacabana, a small fort close to Arpoador Beach. In this painting, we see an old, Poseidon-like king who is not very pleased. With hypnotic eyes, his face almost pops out of the wall. I love it.

King of the Sea - Street Art at Forte Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro MariaTiramisu.com #streetart #rio #riodejaneiro #brazil #poseidon

King of the Sea – Street Art at Forte Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. ©2014 MariaTiramisu.com

You will find spectacular street art throughout Rio de Janeiro, but the most revered artwork is found along the walls of the Jardim Botanico, Rio’s large botanical garden. This is where the crème de la crème of street artists have been known to leave their mark. Regrettably, I wasn’t able to visit the Jardim Botanico area, but I will certainly return one day to explore its great walls.

Check out the Maria Tiramisu in Brazil Pinterest Board for more photos from my trip to Brazil.

What is your favorite kind of street art? Let me know in the comments section below.

I’d love to see some of your local street art. Send pics to @MariaTiramisuCA on Twitter, or MariaTiramisu on Instagram.

Copyright © 2014 Maria Perugini & MariaTiramisu.com. The material in this post and website may not be distributed, reproduced, republished, transmitted, or cached, except with the prior written permission of Maria Perugini. 

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About the Author

Maria "Tiramisu" Perugini

Maria is a recipe developer, international event & project manager, and world traveller with a background in business. She is the writer and photographer at MariaTiramisu.com, the food & travel website she created to share dessert recipes & Italian recipes for curious home cooks. Read more about Maria, and her website.  [CONNECT: Twitter @MariaTiramisuCA  | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | Email: info@mariatiramisu.com] 

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