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Updated in June 2020
We suggest you get to know the artworks of Bordalo II in Lisbon, a young Portuguese artist who has marked with his work the most diverse cities in the world.
Street art is by definition ephemeral, it lasts for the lifetime of an abandonment. However, there are pieces that now mark the city and that we don’t want to see them go.
Lisbon continues to be faced with graffiti and tags, agents of destruction not only of buildings but also of quality street art that we learn to appreciate with time.
However, this urban artistic form of expression with works of increasing quality has revealed a new and peculiar generation of internationally recognised artists, such as Bordalo II.
Get to know artworks of this and other artists by joining Lisbon: Street Art Tour.
Who is Bordalo II
Born in Lisbon in 1987, Artur Bordalo signs his pieces as Bordalo II.
At first we might associate him with the famous plastic artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro. However, in truth it’s an allusion to his own grandfather, another homonym artist, the painter in watercolours Real Bordalo.
This fact reveals that his close relationship with his grandfather since an early age was the starting point for the discovery of art and that this is something he’s proud of.
In 2007 he enrolled at Fine-Arts Faculty of Lisbon in painting. Here we explored different materials and discovered sculpture, which led him to shift from his goal. He attended school for three years and ended up never finishing his studies.
Illegal graffiti was too present in his life, in an early period when the need to express himself was bigger than the message that he knew he wanted to pass on. This practice helped him get comfortable with big dimensions, with the street and its surroundings.
The consciousness and concern for the environment were always there and in 2013 he presented his first art piece made out of garbage in the festival Walk&Talk in the Azores.
The Work of Bordalo II
One person’s rubbish is another’s person’s treasure. It’s based on this premise and with the intention of contributing to change in the world that Bordalo II develops his work. He calls himself artivist, as he is both an artist and an activist at heart.
His idea consists in building with the waste of a consumerist, materialistic and destructive society, an energetic, sensitive and relevant message that helps raise awareness to the need of change of the entire unsustainable system in which we live.
Bordalo II, through the great dimension and visibility of his works, conveys in an exemplar way this urgent message of sustainability that so many still refuse to admit.
A strong message, that can easily be understood by the observer of any age, cultural level or social status.
Using garbage to form sweet animals appeals to our deep empathy towards the helpless beings, victims of the evil behaviour of mankind.
In this context, the artist develops the series of pieces “Big Trash Animals” that can be seen in countless cities of several continents. It thus proves to be a form of art and a message that touches any human being, of any culture, anywhere in the world.
The Route of Bordalo II in Lisbon
Because pieces of this kind are ephemeral, it’s important that this route of Bordalo II in Lisbon that we share with you includes the dates. At any moment, one of these pieces can be destroyed or vandalised and there might even arise new pieces of this artist, which will always be a reason of rejoice for the city.
Gecko and Fish (2015)
Two of the first artworks of Bordalo II in Lisbon are in Ceuta Avenue. One is a giant gecko and is located in front of Banco Alimentar Contra a Fome. The other features many fish and is in front of the Train Station of Alcântara-Terra.
Big Raccoon (2015)
Big Raccoon is discreetly in a small parking lot at the back of Centro Cultural de Belém, in Rua Bartolomeu Dias 43. This piece was made for the artist’s individual exhibition called “Panic, Drama, Terror”.
LX Factory, situated in the west zone of the city, is an interesting area where street art is highlighted. Here, among countless pieces of other artists, is the giant Bee of Bordalo II.
We’ve previously had the opportunity of talking about the Urban Art of Bairro Padre Cruz. Among the existing pieces there, in Rua Rio Douro, is Pig, which was created for the urban art festival MURO Lx 2016.
White Dove (2016)
This piece can be seen in the Lisbon Campus of Catholic University of Portugal, on the left side of the Rectory building.
Plastic Frog (2017)
The frog is both surprising and fascinating with its vibrant colours. This was the first piece of the series ‘Plastic Trash Animals’, created for the individual exhibition ‘ATTERO’. You can find it in Rua da Manutenção.
Half Fox (2017)
Also part of the exhibition ATTERO is the fox. You can find it in front of the river in 24 de Julho Avenue 28, in the remaining abandoned walls of a building that suffered a fire.
Half Chimp (2017)
The last piece created for the exhibition ATTERO, Half Chimp, looks at us while hanging from the gable of the building of the artist’s atelier in Rua de Xabregas.
Iberian Lynx (2019)
One of the most recent work of Bordalo II in Lisbon is in Parque das Nações. Created in July 2019, it is a symbolic landmark of the conference Lisboa+21.
It is a sculpture over 10 metres high and it represents an Iberian Lynx, a threatened specie that is undergoing conservation programmes.
This piece is surprising not only because of its size, but also because it isn’t attached to a wall like many of his works.
In the heart of Lisbon, in Rua do Carmo, next to the Santa Justa Lift, a new intervention by Bordalo II was created in March 2020. This time, a partnership with Associação Mutualista Montepio (a Portuguese mutual savings organization), whose symbol is a pelican.
You can look for more pieces by Bordalo II outside of the city but still in the Lisbon metropolitan area.
We’ll give you a few hints:
- In Loures, the Heron of the Quinta do Mocho or the Baby Squid in Escola Básica João Villaret;
- In the south bank, you can also find an Octopus in Costa da Caparica, a Donkey in Montijo and two Jellyfish in Barreiro;
- And one of the most recent creations, an Owl in the Impresa Building in Paço de Arcos…
The project getLISBON has been very rewarding and we want to continue revealing the singularities of fascinating Lisbon.
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