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Top Ten: Best South American Street Art

NO.10: This mural in Uruguay illustrates the long fought over history of its ports, alluding to its colonisation by the Spanish and Portuguese and its subsequent independence in 1825.


NO.9: The colourful rooftop of my hostel in Arequipa, Peru.


NO.8: By the Rambla riverside walkway in Montevideo, Uruguay. An underwater jungle to liven up the cold, concrete walkway.


NO.7: A mural on the wall of my hostel in Huanchaco, Peru. It looks like a modern take on the ancient engravings of the Chan Chan ruins nearby.


NO.6: Machismo culture is heavily embedded in Chilean life and, although plenty of Chilean women live independent and seemingly emancipated lives, the instances of sexual assault and violence are much greater for women than men. I met several Chilean women who described themselves as feminist and, when I visited Santiago, I saw a huge women’s demonstration. These images below are messages of defiance against the pervading normality of male violence and female domestic and beauty standards. The first image is from Valparaiso, Chile; the second was taken in Uyuni, Bolivia; and the third in Santiago, Chile.


NO.5: These are actually two individual pieces in different places within Valparaiso, Chile. Valparaiso is a fishing port and these half-fish, half-men figures are commenting on the obscene nature of the over-fishing that takes place in Chile. They could also be read as a comment on the absurdity of the fact that much of Chile’s quality fish is exported and most of that is non-native salmon.


NO.4: Also in Valparaiso, Chile. It’s a giant keyboard. No further explanation necessary.


NO.3: In Valparaiso, Chile. Valparaiso is famous for its street art but this one stood out for me. It reads ‘El Corazon es un arma del mismo tamano de tu puno’ or, in English, ‘The heart is a weapon the same size as your fist’. This really moved me on the day that I saw it and I felt re-inspired to have confidence in achieving things with the strength of my passion rather than violence. 


NO.2: Floor art can be interactive art. Just plain fun. This was taken in Colonia, Uruguay.


NO. 1: The side wall of shop in the back streets of Huanchaco. This is a small fishing village on the coast of Peru, a day north of Lima. It reads ‘I believe in super’. I’d love to find out who wrote it. Was it an English-speaking tourist or a Peruvian perhaps trying to spread the optimism to foreigners? Either way, I like it. Simple, to the point. Super. 


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