A few days into our travels through Santiago and Valparaiso I came to realize two things – all stray dogs in Chile must sleep a government-mandated 27 hours per day, with extra credit going to those who choose the most inconvenient locations possible to humans, and that there is a thriving graffiti art scene in the country. Now, normally I don’t really get “art,” and much of the “art” Chile was no different. Against my better judgment Christine and I visited the Bellas Artes (Fine Art Museum) in Santiago (because it was free and literally a two minute walk from the abode of our gracious hosts) – about 200+ paintings of really old people from the 1800s that all looked the same later, I reaffirmed my lifelong plans to not visit an art museum in every country of the world.
The omnipresent graffiti, however, was different. While I probably still did not ‘get’ it (with much of it originating as a form of political resistance, especially during the Pinochet dictatorship), perhaps due to a childhood love of colorful cartoons that defined America (i.e. Animaniacs and Where’s Waldo), I did enjoy checking it all out.
Particularly in Valparaiso, the culturally vibrant coastal city about 125km from Santiago, graffiti adorns public spaces. Concentrated in the center tourist district but present throughout the city, some of it is even created in collaboration with the local municipal government as a means of beautifying otherwise boring old walls. At any rate, spread out amongst rolling hills that make up the city, this sort of “art” generally was pleasing enough to me that I actually took some pictures of it. Enjoy!