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The urban art on playing fields has enriched this artistic expression in our city. They are usually found on walls or on the sides of buildings, but in this case they liven up courts and promote sports.
Unlike murals, a painting on the ground forces us to observe it from a high point, in order to have a general idea of its content, which is not always possible.
However, it’s the artistic details and their inherent messages, the surroundings of cheerful and lively colours that attract local communities to socialise around the sport, promoting mental and physical health, team spirit, fair play… the balance we need so much.
Thanks to the joint initiatives of the Civil Parishes, the City Council of Lisbon and of entities linked to sport and urban art, many playing fields have been renovated and enhanced through art.
To show them to our readers, we’ve equipped ourselves and went to find some examples of urban art on playing fields, created by different Portuguese artists, around the city of Lisbon.
Join a tour and get to know the fabulous urban artworks in the centre of Lisbon.
Basketball Court in Campo Mártires da Pátria
The first work of urban art on playing fields that we’re going to visit is in Santana Hill.
It’s a renovated basketball court and opened on July 19, 2019, after the artistic work of Pedro Campiche, better known as Akacorleone.
According to him, it was already his desire to try to work on supports other than walls or sides of buildings. It was a basketball court that he saw on a trip that led him to take this initiative in Lisbon.
In this work entitled “Balance”, we can observe two figures that, in the author’s words, symbolise “the search for true balance, perfect duality between two people, two teams, two sides, two realities, [which] is hard to achieve, but it’s possible”.
Basketball Court in Bairro dos Lóios
In this neighbourhood of Chelas, in the Civil Parish of Marvila, is located a 3×3 basketball court that honours the internationally known team, Chicago Bulls, founded in 1966.
According to available information, the story behind this tribute has its origin in the early 1990s. When Oliveira Donbell, an inhabitant of the neighbourhood who had recently arrived from Angola, placed a basketball backboard in this location and painted a bull, symbol of the Chicago Bulls.
In December 2020 it was renovated and received the collective work of Halfstudio, composed by Mariana Branco and Emanuel Barreira.
This couple of artists specialised in lettering, characterised by 3D construction and the use of vibrant colours, reproduced the inscriptions “Chicago” and “Chelas”, immortalising the dedication to the basketball team and the area where this court is located.
The Portuguese rapper Sam The Kid in collaboration with DADDY-O-POP marked the event with the song NOT ONLY A GAME.
Playing Field in Estrada do Calhariz
“Cara ou Coroa” (Heads or Tails) is the title of this work by the artists Pariz One and Edis One, completed in May 2021, located in the Civil Parish of Benfica.
This painting was inspired by card games. The authors wanted to add sport to the message of gender equality, where we can see the King and Queen represented in the same card, “two characters with the same power, the same importance, the same values regardless of the weight of their Crown or gender that the Cara (Heads) represent”.
Mini Basketball Court in Parque Urbano do Vale da Ameixoeira
This playing field is dedicated to the little ones and was inaugurated precisely on Children’s Day 2021, in the Civil Parish of Santa Clara, next to the municipal swimming pool.
“Fun, colourful and fantastic” was how the authors described this composition. Los Pepes Studio is a project formed by Meggie Prata and Francisco Leal and is dedicated to creating works where strong colours, fun patterns, objects and minimalist figures are their brand image, as we can see.
Basketball Court in Largo Conde Bonfim
Joana Rodrigues aka Pitanga is the creator of “Believe” which contains a special message of homage to “all women who risk developing their dreams, in their professional and even personal lives, in areas that are mostly for men”.
The vibrant colours, figurative elements and the female profile make up this painting made in the summer of 2021 and located in the middle of residential buildings in the Civil Parish of São Domingos de Benfica.
Football Pitch in Bairro 2 de Maio
In January 2022, this sports venue was renovated and got the artistic intervention, this time by João Varela, also known as Joao Is Typing.
Unlike the other urban art on playing fields that we’ve seen so far, this composition is monochromatic in shades of blue which, in the words of the artist, matches with the sunshiny blue sky and the overwhelming Tagus River that surround it.
The 3D letters reproduce the name of the neighbourhood, in memory of the history and events that took place here. On May 2, 1974, a few days after the April Revolution, the buildings then under construction, which were intended to be inhabited by elements of the dictatorial regime, were occupied by populations who used to live in houses without conditions of habitability.
Having reached the end of this article, we’ve only shown a few playing fields enhanced with urban art. Several others can be found around the city of Lisbon and certainly many more will come…
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