One thing you’ll notice when walking around Buenos Aires is the abundance of graffiti. There’s all kinds: political messages, ugly tagging, New York-style name art, murals, stencils, and interesting combinations of all of the above. Of course, you can appreciate art for its own sake, but a knowledgeable guide can explain the history, the context and the meaning of the pieces you see. And this is exactly what Graffiti Mundo offers.
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We joined a tour one Wednesday afternoon in winter. Luckily, the rain held off since it was mostly a walking tour, though a van ferried us between suburbs three or four times. Our guide Melissa met our group of about 15 people at what seemed to be a random corner in the neighbourhood of Collegiales, but the brightly- painted house outside which we started the tour wasn’t just any other. Rather, it was where several artists decided to beautify Buenos Aires with non-political street art – before that, most of the graffiti expressed political opinions. We still saw a lot of that on the tour, everything from simple messages of support from individuals to stencilled slogans that were obviously part of a party’s campaign. The most interesting political graffiti we saw was the front of a house in Palermo; its owners are strong supporters of Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, and had decorated their street-facing wall with phrases of support in various shades of blue.As we walked around the three or four neighbourhoods that the tour covers (they’re planning to institute tours in other areas of the city as well), Melissa gave us a detailed insight into the world behind the artwork — who had painted it, when, why, who with. I especially enjoyed the ephemeral nature of the art: “This is new,” she said a couple of times. “It wasn’t here last week.” We finished the tour in a bar/gallery, where you can have a beer and buy art by the artists who feature in the tour — a way to take a bit of Buenos Aires street art home with you. For more on Argentina, check out our Argentina country page and get details on Graffimundo and other Buenos Aires tours here.