CULTURE & ARTS

These 50 Images Capture The Rare Beauty Of Rio's Street Art Scene

Behold: a virtual tour of street art around the 2016 Olympics.

cores lindas, cor de neon #kobra #rio #rj #portomaravilha #riostreetart #olympicgamesrio2016

A photo posted by Lianna Codina (@liannafc) on

In Rio de Janeiro, street art is king. 

Thanks to a decree signed by the Brazilian city’s mayor in 2012, all graffiti and street art created on designated city property is legal. (And street art created on private property is permitted with the consent of property owners.) That’s why panoramic shots of the 2016 Olympic hub often include hints of painted walls or building-size portraits. There is a lot of outdoor artwork to see in Rio.

Across the city, street artists enjoy a kind of freedom many muralists around the world envy. One that benefits not only the creative vigilantes who travel with spray paint in tow, but the residents of a region in constant flux. In fact, for those living in Rio’s favelas, or slums, street art has helped highlight the economic disparity that plagues the city. It has helped beautify decaying buildings and revitalize portions of the neighborhoods that tourists overlook. (Which is, frankly, more than the IOC has done so far.)

“Today, many [police] officers support graffiti initiatives for city beautification, and as a crime deterrent,” Lu Olivero, founder of Aerosol Carioca, wrote in a 2014 op-ed for The New York Times. “They understand that graffiti can be a career opportunity for youth in low-income neighborhoods. The growth of graffiti in Brazil, and its role in challenging the status quo, demonstrates the power of art, and its ability to create dialogue.”

For those in Brazil for the 2016 Olympics who want to tour a city known for its vibrant public art, the InstaWalkRio account on Instagram offers visitors and city dwellers a map outlining the various street art spots across Rio.

But for those not able to watch the games in person who also want to experience the beauty of Rio’s murals and graffiti digitally, like they do the Olympic events, we’ve rounded up 50 of our favorite photos capturing the city’s captivating wall art.

From JR’s massive portraits of athletes to Kobra’s recent murals to the dozens of examples of hometown art, here are 50 reasons Rio’s street art scene is worth exploring:

#riostreetart #skatecat #cat #streetart

A photo posted by gus gutierrez (@iam1voice) on

Lapa by night. #riostreetart 🇧🇷

A photo posted by domhoward77 (@domhoward77) on

🎨 #riostreetart #Rio2016

A photo posted by Tânia Lisboa (@tani_tani) on

My favourite so far #riostreetart #santateresa

A photo posted by 👸(B)eryl 💋 (@noirnoor) on

#streetart #leblon #brazilstreetart #riostreetart #muralism #muralismo

A photo posted by Fárlei Canha da Silva (@ffcanhs) on

Curious who lives in 317. #rio #riodejaneiro #riostreetart #streetart

A photo posted by Greg Ho (@grg.ho) on

Tá me esperando na janela, ai, ai... #streetart #graffiti #stencil #riostreetart #rioarte

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Welton Juliace ♋📷🎨✂💄👣 (@tonjuliace) on

Teal bug and crazy awesome street art 💙 #RioStreetArt

A photo posted by Emily Mackey (@emilymackey2) on

#Rio #RioMyLove #RioStreetArt #StreetArt

A photo posted by Elena (@freelancer_ru) on

Rio Cidade do Amor e da Arte

A photo posted by Juliana Chermont (@juliana.chermont) on

#milinbrasil #miriodejaneiro #riostreetart

A photo posted by Anton Milin (@anotomilin) on

#riodejaneiro #brasil #streetart #riostreetart #brasilstreetart

A photo posted by James de Graaf (@james.dg) on

that tree is wired yo #riostreetart #travelphotography #openyoureyes #streetart

A photo posted by melissa troup (@roamingmellon) on

#riostreetart #streetart #urbanart #brazil

A photo posted by Amir (@oxymoron310) on

#marceloment #riostreetart #rioolympics #graffiti

A photo posted by gus gutierrez (@iam1voice) on

Rio Street Art #summer2016 #summer #getaway #icantbelieveimattheolympics #streetart #art #riostreetart #grafittiart

A photo posted by Matt Remington (@mattremington) on

🔮✨ #streetartrio #rio2016

A photo posted by Luiza (@luizaborgesribeiro) on

#riostreetart #streetart #riodejaneiro #brazil #southamerica

A photo posted by Jane (@janed1701) on

#graffiti #grafite #streetart #spraypaint #artwork #rafamon #mural #arteurbana #streetart #riostreetart

A photo posted by Marilia Marx (@marxmarilia) on

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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
25 Street Artists' Works From Around The World
CONVERSATIONS