Street Art in Santiago: No Ticket Required

SANTIAGO – The exhibition, “Street Art in Santiago. A gallery open to the world,” features a selection of mural art present in the capital of Chile. It presents the work of various artists who represent the rise of this art type in the country. The sample made by the Municipality of Santiago remains on display until September 2019.

It is increasingly common to find buildings in Chile’s cities decorated with expansive murals, which have transformed the idea of street art with their vibrant colors and diversity.

An Exhibition Honoring the Art Form in Santiago

Santiago is honoring the art form with  a new exhibition, “Street Art in Santiago. A gallery open to the world,” which features a diverse selection of murals throughout the city.

The exhibition includes works by national artists and groups, Javier Barriga, Jorge Campos, Inti Castro, Coas Chile, Catalina Gato, Los Oberoles Collective, Alejandro “Mono” González, Francisco Maturana, Luis Núñez San Martín, and Alan Zárate, who, through their works, “connect us with an exciting urban art type,” “of undeniable recognition worldwide,” as expressed on the municipality’s website.

The Department of Tourism’s María de los Ángeles Astudillo told Chile Today that the objective of the exhibition “is to be able to spread and show a very unique street art … muralism, which is found in many places in Santiago.”

The exhibition was created with photographs by renowned national artists Galia Ortega and José Miguel Méndez.

Astudillo also said that this exhibition also seeks to “highlight the unique heritage of the commune of Santiago,” so that visitors, whether Chilean or from abroad, can better appreciate this art.

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Inspired by National Geographic’s Must-See List

“Street Art in Santiago” was developed after a 2017 announcement by National Geographic that highlighted Santiago as a Must-See destination for 2018 because of its street art.

The History of Muralism in the Capital

Muralism is nothing new, but it experienced a boom in Santiago the 1970s, when artists began to occupy walls and public spaces to convey messages, mainly political slogans in support of then-presidential candidate and president Salvador Allende. 

With the 1973 coup d’etat, however, the mural art declined and was rushed and anonymous out of fear of the dictatorship, and then after 1983 it transformed into “a weapon of denunciation, resistance and struggle against the dictatorship, manifesting itself in a graphic and plastic language, that called the conscience, the organization and the defense of the people” notes Memoria Chilena (a website of the National Library of Chile).

This is how muralism continued its journey until the arrival of democracy in the beginning of the 1990s, when it began to establish itself with more force than ever, conveying messages, inspiring critical thought, and enlivening urban landscapes—a trend that continues today, with muralism operating not only a tool of political-social expression, but also as a way to beautify Chilean streets.

A young spectator, Andrea Rojas, found “Street Art in Santiago” especially interesting. As she explained, “It is not very common to find this type of art in exhibitions, because usually it is always belittled and branded as vandalism, and is not appreciated how interesting and beautiful it can be.”

 When and Where

The mural art exhibition is open until September 13, at the Santiago Tourism Office, located in Plaza de Armas. You can enjoy it Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free and can be accessed through the Plaza de Armas station via Metro Lines 3 and 5.

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