Graffiti in Santiago / Grafiti en Santiago

In July 2009, the first time I came to Chile, I stayed in the outskirs of Santiago, and travelled daily from there to the Escuela Bellavista in the center of the capital to take my first ever Spanish lessons. The language school was situated in Bellavista, a bohemian and popular neighbourhood with slightly dubious but also attractive reputation. For me Bellavista became the very place that opened my mind to the Chilean language and culture and especially to graffiti, which you cannot help seeing when walking along its streets. During this visit to Chile I photographed graffiti in Bellavista and Maipú as well as some examples in Talcahuano.

In January 2010 – when the precidential election was still going on in Chile – I rented an apartment in Bellavista to be closer to the language school where I had enrolled on a two week course to carry on with my Spanish studies. After the course I travelled to see some other towns and locations. While in Santiago I took graffiti photos in Bellavista and Maipú.

In July 2010 I stayed again in Bellavista, Santiago and photographed graffiti in different parts of the capital, different types of communities, starting from the popular, bustling Bellavista and Bellas Artes in Providencia, venturing to the poorer and more notorius Quinta Normal, San Miguel, La Victoria, and Peñalolen. Maybe my most intensive and impressive photowalk of all these took place in Peñalolen, where I photographed most of the remaining pieces on the 1800 meter long wall named El muro por la paz (The wall for peace, see also in Flickr, and in Facebook), a major international community project painted in three days in 2009 by 700 graffiti artists. Partially damaged by the eathquake in February 2010, the wall was still in reasonably good shape, and definately worth walking the nearly two km distance back and forth, starting from the metro station Los Presidentes. It made me see in a concrete way how graffiti can improve an urban environment and its atmosphere by changing it as an aesthetic experience, by lifting its face, giving it a new kind of reputation. During my stay in Santiago I also visited DuocUC and met Patricio Ibarra, director of the digital illustration and graphic design program, who helped me to find some graffiti painters to interview.

In January 2011 I stayed in a skyscraper apartment block in the very centre of Santiago, taking photos in Bellavista and near the Estacion Central. I also travelled to Valparaiso a few times, stayed there for several nights, walked around the hills taking pictures of graffiti and getting aquainted with some painters.

On my fifth trip to Chile in November 2011 I stayed in Valparaiso, but I visited Santiago a couple of times and photographed some big murals in San Miguel and some other graffiti in Maipú. I wrote the following blog post about the murals in San Miguel:

Museo del Cielo Abierto en San Miguel – December 3rd 2011

The gallery

The gallery below consists of some of the graffiti photos I have taken in Santiago since July 2009. It is not finished – I am still adding photos and information to it – and will only ever show a small fraction of the graffiti I have photographed for my study.

Click any of the thumbnail images to browse through the photos. You can view the images closer and enlarge them by clicking the “permalink” button below each image.

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