Street art in Portugal

The streets of Porto seem to be particularly riddled with both boring tag lines and more interesting pieces of graffiti. From stencils on street walls to large murals, some pieces seemed commissioned whist others were more natural. Lisbon also had quite a lot of street art gracing its walls.

On my first day arriving in Portugal, I got lost. Wandering the streets of Porto, I came across these two cat portraits in the same street. Having just passed about seven or so cats in the past five minutes, I had to smile at their relevance.

I also enjoyed keeping my eye out for some repeating motifs and styles. Godmess, Costah  and Hazul are some of the big names when it comes to graffiti, and their style can easily be picked out on the streets and lanes.

I really admire the geometric patterns of the artist Hazul and the use of sibling motifs, similar in style but slightly different in form, that find themselves repeated on the city walls.


Whilst a lot of street art seems to be tucked away, some of the major streets are decorated- one of them being Rua Das Flores. On this street, power boxes have been spruced up with some talent and spray paint. I loved the sayings by the artist Godmess, but sadly Google translate does not provide me with anything I can even begin to understand. I think it is something made by locals, for locals, and the rest of us can only smile at the enigma, as we do with a conversation or an inside joke that goes way over our heads.

From what I saw Porto was definitely the hub of street art, but Lisbon also had some gems to offer. Being a pun-lover myself, and always interested in playful use of language, I am particularly partial to the #selfieless image. It isn’t unique to Lisbon, as photos with the hashtag have been posted from Valencia, Barcelona, Berlin and London- and it may be pasted in other cities around Europe that I’m not aware of. I can’t help but think about the differences between the words and meanings of selfless and selfieless- are those who are disconnected socially, both on and offline, left with a less valued sense of self? I think it’s possible that being selfie-less is not that far away from feeling self-less (without a sense of self worth), in an age where photos are a such an important way of connecting with others, especially for young people. After seeing this artwork, I will make a greater effort to be a more selfless and reach out to others where I can.


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