So many of the cities we’ve visited so far on this trip have had a wealth of amazing street art, and Buenos Aires is no different. To get some more insight into the art we were seeing as we explored the city and learn more about the culture surrounding it, we signed up for a tour through graffitimundo. We did the North City tour, which started in Colegiales and ended in Palermo.
The tour took place on a beautiful afternoon, one of many that we were lucky enough to have in the city. Our guide was a girl who’d grown up in Buenos Aires and was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the street art scene in the Argentinian capital. She explained to us that although street art is technically illegal in Buenos Aires, as long as you’re not doing it on someone’s private property without their permission, you won’t be reprimanded for it. This means that a lot of the artists work in broad daylight, and, since they don’t have to worry about working fast to avoid being caught, they aren’t limited to spray paint as their medium. Many pieces of art around the city are done with acrylic paints, and artists often use intricate stencils to produce interesting and complicated designs. There is still a lot of freehand work done as well, but the fact that they don’t have to hide give the artists a much broader opportunity to show their stuff.
From basic tags to full blown murals (my favourite), we saw a huge variety of street art and got a lot of great information on the ideas and culture behind it. We ended the tour at a bar and gallery owned collectively by a group of street artists, and were lucky enough to get some insight on the Buenos Aires graffiti scene from one of the artists. They regularly rotate exhibitions by different street artists, which I think is such a neat idea. These artists’ work is rarely showcased in a way that truly gives credit to their talent, and showing their art in a gallery space legitimizes them in a way that they truly deserve. I definitely would have made a point to go back and check out an exhibit had there been one on while we were in town.
Beyond just showing us the art, our guide gave us some really interesting background on the political situation in Argentina. The country has been through some pretty rough years, and taking to the street has been one way for people to express their sadness when things go wrong and to celebrate when there is occasion to do so. As sad as it was to hear about the horrors and hardships that Argentinians have gone through, I always love to hear about a country’s past in order to gain a better understanding of the mindsets that exist in the present.
You don’t need to go on a tour to take in the street art of Buenos Aires, as you’ll see amazing pieces everywhere you look as you walk through the neighbourhoods of the city. Graffitimundo’s tour really did add to my appreciation of the open air paintings I saw through the rest of our stay in Argentina’s capital, though. If you’re a street art lover like I am, I’d highly recommend it