Why is there so little StreetArt in Argentina?

This is the first StreetArt gallery we have published from Argentina, and could perhaps be the only one. Despite having spent well over six months in this country, we honestly haven’t spotted more motifs to photograph. Most murals that we have seen gave the impression of being formalised commissioned works, instead of displaying the traditional rebelliousness of freely created street art, and its sometimes warped sense of humour.

Street Art Argentina – this piece is part of a wall around a small plaza in Santa Fe

Street Art Argentina – this piece is part of a wall around a small plaza in Santa Fe

Large facade in Cafayate, native girl holding a wine glass (see the spirit?)

Large facade in Cafayate, native girl holding a wine glass (see the spirit?)

During our time in Chile we managed to post eight galleries with outstanding street art pictures – and we still have many more! I published my first ever street art gallery from my time in Uruguay, awaiting Berta’s arrival . As soon as we crossed the border from Argentina into Uruguay recently, the camera was out again to photograph more (although not yet enough to create a second dedicated gallery).

We are still wondering why we see so little StreetArt in Argentina.

Maybe street art is simply not as popular in Argentina. Or it could be that it is heavily prosecuted. We know that there are many good pieces in Buenos Aires, but we haven’t been to the capital this trip (and, at this stage, don’t plan to).
[UPDATE: later on we re-visited Buenos Aires and found plenty of good street art. ]

We have been to other major cities, like Cordoba, Mendoza, Salta, and Tucuman, but we haven’t encountered a single piece in any of these centres which caught our eye and made us stop to take photos. Strange! You see the typical tagging, some political slogans, but hardly any outstanding graffiti or real art pieces painted on walls.

That’s not to say that there isn’t any ‘creative juice’ to be found. Many of the commissioned murals you see in this gallery display a lot of skill, and a love for detail. We just wonder where these artists find other public canvases to hone their skills…


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17 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    It’s always been difficult for us to find street art, mostly because we are only happening upon it and not looking up where we might find it beforehand. Then it’s a bit more elusive.

    • Juergen says:

      It really depends a little on how you arrive in a city, where you stay, and how much time you have. We found that in most cities there are particular suburbs which attract the most street art (see our Santiago de Chile galleries as examples). But since we’re travelling in our own vehicle we often enter a city through the right areas. In some of the cities, mentioned in this article, we spent considerable time.

  2. Nicole says:

    Very odd, but what a great observation. The ones you did picture above are amazing. I can get lost in the artwork for hours. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Jenna says:

    I always love finding street art when we travel. That is strange there isn’t more street art there, but the ones you did manage to find are pretty great even if they are commissioned! Glad you found a lot more in Buenos Aries, but it definitely makes me curious why there is so few throughout the rest of the country!

  4. I like some of the murals. Even if they aren’t true street art but they are art nevertheless. I like commissioned murals over some the graffiti you see in other places.

    • Juergen says:

      You never know: some of the kid who starts out with simple graffiti might become a skilled street artist. The one thing I really dislike are kids tagging over a good piece of nicely executed street art. Such egocentric disrespect!

  5. mags says:

    It is bizarre that there would be relatively little street art in Argentina. Perhaps they have programs to “clean the streets” or maybe harsh punishment for vandals? It’s a shame. I love seeing street art when I travel

  6. Lotte says:

    Interesting there is such a difference between the countries in South America regarding their (lack of) street art culture!

  7. I had the impression there is quite a lot , especially in La Boca…

  8. Arzo Travels says:

    Never paid that much attention to murals, but probably because I travel mainly in Asia and there is not a lot of street art? Well, maybe I just didn’t see them :) There is def. much more in Europe. At least you know that they can be creative as well :)

    • Juergen says:

      Actually: I believe street art in Latin America is at least en par with Europe and the USA. There are countless talented street artists, many of the best work all over the world. Yet Latin America has developed its own style.

  9. Sue Reddel says:

    Very odd. I would think that you would have found a lot more street art in Argentina. I agree that of the ones that you did find there are many talented artists.

  10. Jackie says:

    Interesting observation…I was only in southern Argentina while traveling through Patagonia. I wasn’t on the look out for street art. Did you ever find out if it is the fear of prosecution or perhaps some other cultural faux-pas? It is strange, though, as so many urban areas in South America and around the world have really thoughtfully done street art.

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