Street art
Chile,  Street art,  Travel galleries

Gallery: the street art of Valparaiso

‘Valparaíso, how absurd you are…you haven’t combed your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.’

Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet

Valparaíso means ‘Valley of Paradise’, and while many may not see this rather gritty and in places run-down port city as any sort of paradise, for many others, myself included, it has plenty of charm.

This is one of the oldest cities in the country and was for centuries the most important port on South America’s Pacific coast, being the first that large ships could dock in after rounding Cape Horn. Like all port cities it is something of a melting pot, attracting immigrants from all over the world, and after a few days in Santiago we were struck by the much wider diversity of the people we saw on the streets here than in the capital [living in London we expect cultural diversity to be the norm in a large city].

The city is famous today for its neighbourhoods of colourful houses that spill down the hillsides towards the port. They are a magnet for artists, for photographers, for writers and are especially known for the street art that adorns many of the buildings, which was one of the main things that attracted us here.

Cerro Concepción is a ‘zona típica’ (designated historic area) and a great place to see this proliferation of street art. Most of my photos below were taken there.

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I travelled to Valparaiso in 2016

12 Comments

  • starship VT

    Interesting ‘travel snapshot’, Sarah. Somehow I would have expected the street art to have a more Chilean or South American flavor. But I guess no matter where you go, street art isn’t necessarily pertinent only to the country it’s displayed in. I think the only country I can remember where the street art leaves you in no doubt were it is (IMHO), would be Northern Ireland.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Hi Sylvia 🙂 I know what you mean about reflecting the local area. It’s not obvious perhaps but some of these do – the one with the cat on the cup is set against a background image of Valparaiso itself and I think the one with a ship is of the port here. The boy reading is in support of a local campaign for public education, and one of the large murals, the one on its side, portrays two Latin American mythological figures, the Kusillo and the Ekeko (the god of abundance and prosperity). Maybe I should have included more info rather than letting the images speak for themselves?

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Anna 🙂 Yes, I loved it too – coming from London (which I guess is also historically a port city, although I don’t think of it as such) I also like ‘a bit of rough’ in a city 😆

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Albert. Don’s issue with the gallery was down to a silly mistake I’d made – it was still in draft form when I published the post! Silly me 😉

  • Nemorino

    Somehow I haven’t succeeded in finding the gallery.
    Is there one? I can only see one photo so far, the one at the top of the text.

      • Nemorino

        Now it has appeared, 13 photos that can be clicked on to get to the full-scale gallery. Nice!
        But I had to refresh the screen to write this reply, because the reply box (and the like button) had disappeared. These are just teething problems, I hope, but if they continue perhaps you should contact your hosting service or somebody.

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