Is Pan de Azúcar Worth a Detour for its Murals?

Whenever we hear or read about a place known for public art, be it sculpture, traditional murals, or contemporary street art, we usually make an effort to go there. If our guide book, the South America Handbook from Footprint, mentions murals along our way we sit up and take notice.

A long wall painted with some alien figures. I would like to know its significance...

A long wall painted with some alien figures. I would like to know its significance…

After experiencing Carnival in Montevideo we spent some time relaxing along the east coast of Uruguay. Then we were ready to drive towards Tacuarembó, in the central north of Uruguay, to attend the famous gaucho festival . Just inland from Maldonado is the small town of Pan de Azúcar – and for this place we had found a mention of murals in our Footprint.

The town gets its name from a nearby hill of the same name; translated it means ‘sugar loaf’, a name you find in many places. The town itself is very small and laid back. There’s not even a tourist information office, where we had hoped to learn more about the murals and in which streets we could be find them.

Tango in space. This comical image made us smile...

Tango in space. This comical image made us smile…

That there is no tourist information is a shame because I had read somewhere that many of these murals were created by well-known artists. An online search didn’t reveal anything significant so I was hoping to get more information in town. As a layman, my impression was that some of these murals look like the artists were more used to working on canvas than large walls.

So we parked right at the main town square and started to wander around. Somehow we lost any sort of systematic approach due to the fact that the typical street grid isn’t continuous in Pan de Azúcar.

We weren’t all that inspired either because many of the street art pieces we found were in a sorry state, with paint peeling or faded. It appears as if some were applied almost twenty years ago and left to deteriorate without any upkeep. Thankfully, in between, you can discover a few more recent pieces with colours still bright and inspiring.

Overall we left with the impression that yes, there is a good amount of street art to be seen in Pan de Azúcar, but it’s not so exciting that we would recommend a long detour to see it. It’s a nice enough stop if you are driving the highway from Montevideo to Punta del Este. Or maybe we were just too spoilt by the experience of the murals in 25 de Agosto

Later, on the way out of Pan de Azucar, we captured this newer mural.

Later, on the way out of Pan de Azucar, we captured this newer mural.

A newer, more colourful mural in a side street of Pan de Azucar.

A newer, more colourful mural in a side street of Pan de Azucar.

A very faded and peeled off mural with some surreal image.

A very faded and peeled off mural with some surreal image.

Mural saying: From your moon, from your sun, from your inside...

Mural saying: From your moon, from your sun, from your inside…

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On way from Montevideo to Punta del Este in Uruguay you come past the small town of Pan de Azucar. If you are interested in public art, take a break and explore the murals in this town!

On way from Montevideo to Punta del Este in Uruguay you come past the small town of Pan de Azucar. If you are interested in public art, take a break and explore the murals in this town!



Disclaimer: the link to the Footprint guide book on this page is primarily for illustration purpose; it is an affiliate link for Amazon (where we get a small commission but you don’t pay more).

 

Juergen

webmaster, main photographer & driver, second cook and only husband at dare2go.com. Freelance web designer with nearly 20 years of experience at webbeetle.com.au

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12 Responses

  1. budget jan says:

    An interesting diversion but it sounds a little frustrating. I guess there has to be infrastructure in place to maintain the artworks.

    • Yasha says:

      It did seem to be a shame that they had not been cared for. After our visit to 25 de Agosto, where all were fresh and new, this collection looked quite drab in places. But we still found some which really impressed us.

  2. Looks like a cool place. I love street art. It is a shame that the street art is not being maintained, but isn’t it meant to be temporary/transient?

    • Yasha says:

      These particular pieces are not street art in the usual sense. They are actually pieces commissioned by the community from artists, rather than randomly created by street artists. I would think then that the community might want to maintain them somewhat – but obviously not.

  3. Sheri G says:

    I’m mildly obsessed with street art and enjoyed looking through your photos! There’s a feeling of romance I get from many of these you’ve shared. Thank you!

    • Yasha says:

      Thanks Sheri – if you check out our blog, you will find that we are a little more than ‘mildly obsessed’ with street art.

  4. Christabel says:

    Some of the pieces are beautiful, would love to see them up close! It’s a shame there isn’t more information about the artists that created them.

    Street art is something I love checking out whenever I travel – going to check out the rest of your blog :)

    • Yasha says:

      I always like to know all those little details too, but sometimes we just have to look at the art. If you like these then you will probably like the 25 de Agosto post as well. Another small town with excellent murals.

  5. My favorite street art murals were seen in South America–Montevideo and Valparaiso, Chile. I really like the space tango here, though.

  6. Shobha says:

    I love street art but yes, in countries that don’t have the resources to maintain it, it can get into a sorry state. I felt the same way about the Selaron steps in Rio – cool still but probably stunning before they were chipped and grimy.

    • Juergen says:

      I think it also depends on how the towns and their administration view the street art. Is it seen as an enhancement? Is it seen as a way to attract visitors? Hence is it worth any maintenance?

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