In this article about urban art tributes to personalities in Lisbon, we bring you art pieces that highlight people and/or events that deserve to be well-known.
Urban art, like other artistic expressions, is often a way of manifesting dissatisfaction towards issues that affect us as a society or problems that affect us globally.
It’s in this art that we also witness tributes to national and foreign individuals who, in some way, have excelled in different areas or who have contributed with their effort and dedication to a better world.
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Urban Art Tributes to Personalities
Without further due, let’s get to know some of the urban art tributes to personalities that we can find in the city of Lisbon.
Captain Salgueiro Maia (1944-1992), one of the distinguished figures of the Revolution of 25th of April 1974 that liberated Portugal from 48 years of dictatorial regime.
He’s also the protagonist of the mural that can be seen, since 2014, outside of NOVA School of Social Sciences in Berna Avenue, in the Avenidas Novas zone.
This collective work of the Underdogs platform involved four urban artists. It aims to show their interpretations of the 25th of April and how this revolution, which they didn’t experience, influenced their lives.
Frederico Draw portrayed Salgueiro Maia, inspired by the image captured by photojournalist Alfredo Cunha, on the decisive day of the revolution in Carmo Square.
Gonçalo Ribeiro aka Mar took charge of the background behind the Captain, drawing the raised fists of the people with the Portuguese flag colours.
The patterns of the rifles and the captain’s uniform are from Add Fuel, who often creates reinterpretations of Portuguese tiles.
On each side of the mural is a symbolic piece by Miguel Januário. The one on the left refers to the pre-25th of April, the shield wrapped in bones and chains. The right side shows a heart and two G3s, with a Latin inscription that means “We either find a way, or we make one”, appealing to the need for change.
Raoni Metuktire (1932) is the personality that the Brazilian creator Kobra brought to MURO | Festival of Urban Art Lx 2017, in Quinta do Marquês de Abrantes in Marvila.
Learn more about the Festival and other artworks of this parish in Urban Art of Marvila.
This portrait of the Brazilian indigenous leader, from the Kayapo people, is part of “Etnias – Todos Somos Um” (Ethnicities – We Are All One) by Kobra. A project that aims to draw attention to the fight against the invasion of the Amazon, which the representative of the indigenous peoples has been waging and to the importance of preserving their peoples and the forest, this being a global responsibility and not only of Brazil.
Nuno Teotónio Pereira and José Cardoso Pires
In the parking lot of the Alvalade Market there are two urban art tributes to personalities, initiatives by the City Council of Lisbon and the Civil Parish of Alvalade.
They were two outstanding figures in different domains, but both were residents in this parish of Lisbon.
The tribute to the architect Nuno Teotónio Pereira (1922-2016) is from 2017. An important figure in his field, having received numerous awards, including the Valmor Prizes (a prize established in 1898 according to the testament left by the 2nd Viscount of Valmor to reward the architectural quality of the new buildings built in the city of Lisbon) from: 1967 with the Housing Tower in Olivais Norte; 1971 with Franjinhas Building, in Rua Braamcamp; and from 1975 with the project of the Sagrado Coração de Jesus Church, in Rua Camilo Castelo Branco.
João Samina portrayed Nuno Teotónio Pereira on a background of geometric shapes in gray, black and red colours, a very characteristic combination of this Portuguese creator.
In 2018, SKRAN immortalised José Cardoso Pires in one of the walls next to the market, for the 2nd edition of Alvalade Capital da Leitura, in which the life and work of the writer were highlighted.
He’s considered one of the greatest Portuguese writers of the 20th century, being “O Delfim” from 1968 one of his masterpieces.
In 2018, as part of the tribute of the City Council of Lisbon to Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), a painting by the Portuguese illustrator Nuno Saraiva was made in collaboration with several other artists.
This artwork located in Rua João Soares, in Campo Grande, evokes the centenary of the birth of the South African historical leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner. But it also brings back the memories of the years of 1987 and 1989 for reflection. Dates in which, respectively, Portugal voted at the UN against the resolution for the unconditional release of Nelson Mandela and the resolution on child victims of apartheid in South Africa.
Mandela’s phrase “Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world” can also be read, emphasising the importance of widespread access to education, which unfortunately still needs to be reinforced…
Brazilian activist Marielle Franco, a human rights defender and city councilor in the city of Rio de Janeiro, was brutally murdered in March 2018.
In the edition of that same year of the Iminente Festival that took place at Panorâmico de Monsanto Viewpoint, the emblematic Portuguese artist Vhils joined the project Brave Walls of Amnesty International. He sculpted Marielle Franco’s face in one of the walls, highlighting the value of those who take on the mission of fighting for causes, in the name of all.
Amália e Celeste Rodrigues
Two famous fado performers have been present since August 2019 on the side of buildings of Quinta da Cabrinha in Alcântara.
It is the notable figure of Amália Rodrigues (1920-1999), by SMILE and her younger sister Celeste Rodrigues (1923-2018), portrayed by Styler.
In the same place, a Portuguese guitar by 2CarryOn and another piece alluding to fado by the Spanish graffiter Werens can also be observed.
Personalities of Benfica Neighbourhood
Contrary to what we’ve seen so far, the mural located in Rua das Garridas, in the Civil Parish of Benfica portrays not only one personality but rather a set of public figures, whose lives are connected in some way to this neighbourhood.
The initiative came from the Civil Parish that carried out a poll on social media with a list of 24 personalities in order to elect 15. Among the elected are writers, sportsmen, actors, musicians, comedians, and others…
From left to right we have: Carlos Paredes; João Lobo Antunes; António Lobo Antunes; José Águas; Ana Bacalhau; Nuno Markl; Lena D’Água; Madalena Iglésias; Padre Álvaro Proença; Beatriz Costa; António Livramento; Francisco Lázaro; Vasco Santana; Ruy de Carvalho and António Feio.
This mural inaugurated in May 2020 has drawings by the illustrator Tomás Reis, which were transformed into graffiti by the urban artists Edis One and Pariz One, also residents of Benfica.
With this itinerary of the urban art tributes to personalities in Lisbon we wanted to draw your attention to a type of tribute that is certainly ephemeral, but also striking and different from the traditional.
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