Beautiful City: a tribute to São Paulo street art

I don’t think I could have learned to navigate my way around São Paulo without the street art. Artists like Eduardo Kobra, Os Gemeos, Paulo Ito, Cranio and many others were, in many ways, my tour guides. I learned a lot from their art and creative social commentary. Walking pass their artwork gave me a deeper connection to the people that live here. Their stories are right there on the walls.

It’s a shame that these talented artists are in a fight with the city’s new mayor, João Doria and his “Operation Beautiful City” initiative. Instead of trying to erase their work, he should listen to what the artists are saying. He should open his eyes and see the beauty it adds to an otherwise gray city. He should focus on the real issues that thousands of citizens have been flooding the streets to protest about. 

To honor the street artists, I’m sharing my collection of street art photos. 

Many of these have already been erased. 

“I believe that by using public spaces and talking about these issues [in São Paulo], we can create awareness in one person, one neighborhood, one city, or one country.”

– Eduardo Kobra on using street art to raise awareness about issues in São Paulo during our interview for Brasil Wire / Huffington Post in August 2015.

Revisit our conversation:

NOTE: I have total respect for the work of these artists, and I do know many of the artists photographed here. However, since I could not ID them all, I decided not to include any names. If you want to help me ID them feel free to contact me.


Día de los Muertos with Frida Kahlo

Walking through the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Instituto Tomie Ohtake in São Paulo was surreal. I have been to many museums and galleries, but there are only a few exhibitions that give me a heartfelt feeling that goes beyond admiration for creativity. This was certainly one of them.

Me, Frida & Diego. Photo by Gustavo S. Requena
Me, Frida & Diego. Photo by Gustavo S. Requena.

There Frida Kahlo was, all of her emotions and feelings neatly framed and on display for us to see. All of her pain, sadness, joy and emotions. It felt like I was meeting her or walking into her life. The experience was beautiful, emotional, and an honor all at the same time. I walked through this show on Día de los Muertos and it felt great to pay respect to the spirit of one of the world’s greatest artists to ever do it.

I did not take many photos, but here is a quick look. Learn more about this exhibition here.

Photos by Stephen J. Grant with permission from the gallery. All rights reserved.

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