Arte Urbana na Quinta do Mocho: mural de Huariu

The Urban Art Gallery of the Quinta do Mocho

For some time now, Lisbon region has been part of the world’s urban art itinerary. The more than a hundred pieces of urban art of the Quinta do Mocho are certainly responsible for this and are one of the main attractions in this scope.

The Quinta do Mocho is situated “at the door” of Lisbon in the neighbour Council of Loures and getLISBON had to introduce it to its readers since there you can find the biggest urban art gallery in Europe and 2nd biggest in the world!

Here you can admire pieces from both national and foreign artists. But the most important is realising how art allowed the transformation of a stigmatised neighbourhood into a space its inhabitants are proud of.

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Join a tour and get to know the fabulous urban artworks in the centre of Lisbon.

Quinta do Mocho and ‘The Neighbourhood and the World Festival’

The Quinta do Mocho started by being a neighbourhood of very precarious living conditions in the 1970’s, resided by families coming from African countries, Portuguese ex-colonies.

Only in the 1990’s was the majority of these families rehoused in the social buildings built next to the Quinta do Mocho, slightly bettering their lives.

Due to multiple existing social problems, this neighbourhood for a very long time was associated to a problematic environment. Connected to criminality, violence and drug dealing it was rare for anyone from the outside to dare to go there.

One of the first urban art in Quinta do Mocho. By the Brazilian artist Utopia
One of the first urban art of the Quinta do Mocho. By the Brazilian artist Utopia

But everything started to change from 2014 with the initiative ‘The Neighbourhood and the World’ and the will of the residents themselves.

‘The Neighbourhood and the World’ was a project integrated in the programme C4i – Communication For Integration created by the Council of Europe that aimed to combat myths and misconceptions against racism and xenophobia in the communities of migrants.

Its intervention aimed to demystify the negative connotation of stigmatised territories, such as social neighbourhoods. For that, it counted on the coproduction of the Loures City Council and the Artistic Association IBISCO (Inter-Neighbourhoods Theatre for the Social Inclusion and Culture of Optimism).

In order to hold a big festival, actions that involved and motivated the residents were promoted. The participation of several entities was encouraged, community assemblies, the collection of ideas and suggestions, the organisation of debates, the voluntary participation in various activities, as well as the cleaning and requalification of green spaces and rehabilitation of urban equipment were carried out.

Thus, in October 2014 the festival ‘The Neighbourhood and the World’ took place and brought many visitors. This event, in the course of 3 days, offered cultural entertainment, such as: dance, music, theatre, documentaries and urban art.

The Urban Art of the Quinta do Mocho

For the festival ‘The Neighbourhood and the World’, several pieces were created by both national and foreign artists, which embellished the façades and the sides of the buildings. These artists participated free of charge and the materials and paints were provided by the organisation.

After the festival the number of art pieces kept increasing. Many more artists were invited or contacted the organisation at their own initiative with the desire to contribute to this project. An Artistic Residency was also promoted where the artists stayed during the time of the creation of the pieces.

Since the festival guided tours started being available, which are carried out by young residents, and that have been a success in the promotion of the new image of this neighbourhood.

In 2016 the Gallery of Public Art of Quinta do Mocho started being part of the project Loures Arte Pública (Loures Public Art) of the Loures City Council, promoting the urban art in several zones of this council and making it one of its brand images.

The current total number of paintings in Quinta do Mocho is 108. Many of them containing messages relative to social matters, some allusive to the life and culture of this community, as well as representations of owls, due to the designation of the Quinta do Mocho (Owl Farm).

We must highlight some of the artists that have contributed to this social cause and to the construction of this big urban art gallery of the Quinta do Mocho. For instance, we can find pieces by Adres, Bordalo II, Edis One, MGomes, Miguel Brum, Odeith, Oze Arv, RAF, Styler, Tamara Alves, Vhils, among other national artists. When it comes to foreign artists we have: Astro Odv, Eva Bracamontes, Guido Palmadessa, Jo Di Bona, Vinie, Zag & Sia…

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Quinta do Mocho Free of Prejudice

Today, strolling around Quinta do Mocho is like visiting an open-air art museum where prejudice and mistrust have been put aside. Its image was renewed and it has become a requalified public space. However, it still needs significant improvements.

Despite everything that has been done, there’s still a lot to be done for this community to have the life quality that’s desired for everyone.

Homage by START.SOCIAL (a social work association) to António Guterres, current secretary-general of the UN, in one of the façades for having voluntarily tutored maths to young residents. By the Portuguese artist Odeith.
Homage by START.SOCIAL (a social work association) to António Guterres, current secretary-general of the UN, in one of the façades for having voluntarily tutored maths to young residents. By the Portuguese artist Odeith.

Visitors can walk around freely but our suggestion is to participate in one of the guided tours, carried out by the young residents. From them, we hear in first person the transformation that this neighbourhood underwent, what the urban art gallery of the Quinta do Mocho changed in their lives and, of course, we get an insight of the paintings and the messages and stories inherent in them, as well as a revelation of a few curiosities.

For instance, the French artist Maye’s curiosity; due to high heights, he didn’t produce any artwork in the façades and ended up leaving small but enchanting and surprising paintings throughout the neighbourhood. Don’t miss it!

One of the surprising paintings of the French artist Maye
One of the surprising paintings of Maye

To finish off the visit, don’t miss the gastronomical experience in one of the restaurants, and try one of the very well homemade typical African dishes, such as muamba and cachupa.

The goal of the project ‘The Neighbourhood and the World Festival’ of “SHOWING THE NEIGHBOURHOOD TO THE WORLD AND BRINGING THE WORLD TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD” was, without a doubt, accomplished! But in truth, the most important was the change of perception of the inhabitants about the ability to change their neighbourhood and their lives.


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