Step outside the world of galleries and plonk yourself onto the city streets. This is where you’ll find a barrage of human thoughts and feelings immortalised in paint! Across the globe, people pour their minds and hearts to create a thought, a story on a wall. And such stories can be quite powerful, whether it’s in the form of graffiti, murals, posters, sketches, or carvings. Be it street art on political revolutions or popular culture, this is living, breathing art that will evoke a flood of emotions inside you. It will make you laugh, often with fat tears rolling down your cheeks or silence you with intense grief. Read ahead as we take you on a journey to different cities across the world to discover street art, in all its glory!

1. Lisbon, Portugal

Art in Lisbon is a beautiful expression of its history as well as that of its creativity. A simple stroll down the streets of this city, will leave you gasping at the sheer beauty of its painted, blue tiles, embedded in buildings, on walls and even at metro stations. These old tiles together, not only tell biblical stories but also make for an attractive canvas for modern artists to paint a world of new tales.

 

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Behold a city held up by its fisherwomen, by the artist Add Fuel

 

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Laugh with glee at a caricature of the art of Fado, a Portuguese form of music.

 

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Move over graffiti, it’s time for recyclable street art, by the artist Bordalo

 

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Cronoproject adds some colours to Lisbon’s old buildings

2. Istanbul, Turkey

While street art was earlier considered a form of vandalism in Istanbul, the Mural Istanbul Festival changed many a local notion with its revolutionary paintings. Local artists came forth with enthusiasm to add dashes of colourful paint on Istanbul’s monochrome grey buildings to create striking murals. The aim here is to foster positive energy in people’s everyday lives. 

 

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A fresh look at our Nickelodeon filled childhood, by the artist Fist

 

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A floating houseboat of odds and ends, by the German artist, Dome

 

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The artist creates a dreamlike vision of humans peeping into their daily routines.

 

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A surreal painting of inner monsters, by the artist Canavar

 

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Here’s proof that heels have power! Artist Vahit Tuna heads the battle for domestic violence against women and champions for independence of women with this art installation.

3. Bangkok, Thailand

The street art scene in Bangkok is hidden in its alleyways, to be sought by passionate art buffs that want to look at a different side of the city. These artists are often inspired by the moving city itself to create a unique kind of graffiti, by the colour of taxis or bicycles that whizz past at brisk speed. Wander some more and you could meet sketched animals and other strange creatures on the sides of buildings.

 

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Quirky bicycle art, by the artist Sakyai. Sure to make you stop in your tracks to have a look!

 

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An invention of the artist Alexface, a childlike creature explores the strangeness of our world.

 

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Watch a woman on the hunt, by artist Phai

 

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Keep your head firm when you look at the faceless portraits by illustrator, Kult.

Ithaka Pro tip: You can also take the Chao Phraya Public ferry from Tha Theim Pier to King Taksim bridge. Swivel your heads around to look at interesting graffiti while you sail.

4. Berlin, Germany

You will find the true spirit of Berlin as you look beyond its museums and walk straight up its alleys. The remnants of the Berlin wall itself are coated with spray paint, loud posters, funny stickers, and even artwork made from yarn! Here, you will find everything from strong political statements and abstract comical designs to Cold War allusions. Around a hundred artists from all across the world have come here to leave their own unique mark on a wall that once divided the world into two.

 

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The comical yellow man, by the twin artist duo Os Gemeos

 

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The Cosmonaut by Victor Ash – inspired by a David Bowie song about a junkie astronaut who gets lost in space. 

 

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People are reunited with the fall of the Berlin Wall, by artist Agostino Iacurci

 

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Obama, Merkel, Putin… All get a feature here.

5. New York, USA

No talk of graffiti would be complete without mentioning New York, one of the first places to adopt this style of art. It was certainly a swashbuckling time during the 1970s when rebellious teens set about painting in secrecy on subway cars and building walls. The paths in Brooklyn, Harlem, Lower East Side, and even the upscale area of SoHo – all, showcase a motley of pop art, huge murals, sculptures, and graffiti. An open storybook laid out for you indeed!

 

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Spend a happy morning in Brooklyn as you stumble across this piece of art.

 

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Bushwick Collective speaks against bullies. Stay strong and say no to bullying!

 

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Drugs ain’t cool, people. Keith Haring sends a bold message to live a drug-free life, through this mural.

 

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Revisit the fun strongman game memories as you admire the stencilled brilliance of the Great Banksy!

6. Glasgow, Scotland

Gigantic murals painted on 19th-century buildings against a backdrop of grey skies, summaries Glasgow’s street art scene. A lot of them feature a range of human and animal figures, all smeared with bold pigments. Incredibly detailed, the paintings warrant a closer look to understand this fringe of perspective that diverges from the mainstream culture. Some murals also talk about stories of yore, blending them into a modern background to create unique urban art.

 

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Find the beauty of the Scottish countryside right in the middle of the city.

 

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Who needs magic to fly a car when you have balloons? ‘World’s Most Economic Taxi’ painted by Rogue One

 

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The artist Smug reimagines Saint Mungo in modern clothes bringing a bird back to life.

 

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A lecture engraved on a university building. People of different ethnicities and women were in fact painted on it later!

7. Cairo, Egypt

Graffiti in Cairo was a direct outcome of the Egyptian revolution of 2011. It was a time when the youth took to the streets to paint their discontent. A time when the graffiti would often disappear, given a fresh layer of paint by authorities – a ready canvas for more protesters to descend on. Expect to see caricatures of major political figures, ancient myths reborn with new twists, and women displaying their power, all from the swish of a paintbrush. This is an art, uncensored and brutal to the core. 

 

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This was a time of gas masks.

 

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Alaa Awad transforms the old pharaonic murals, giving them a subtle twist to reveal the state of the people during the revolution. While the original mural shows men, the artist paints women here instead, all marching with scrolls. This is to indicate the role that women played in Egypt’s past as well as during the spring revolution.

 

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Apart from revolution graffiti, you might also stumble across beautiful paintings in Cairo.

8. London, England

From rebellious graffiti and stencil artwork to high-street art, London is an art lover’s haven. This city welcomes renowned artists, as well as amateurs that experiment with myriad styles on its streets. Strange swirls, zigzag patterns, figures with expressive eyes, black and white lined doodles, so much await you. 

 

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Banksy’s ‘falling shopper’ – We warned you about excessive shopping!

 

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Nathan Bowen takes up his paints and pencils to transform “ruined” walls into pieces of art.

 

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Climate change is real. And street art contributes in spreading Greta’s word. 

 

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A retake on a rhino by Otto Schade

P.S. Expect to come across the brilliance of the renowned artist and vandal, Banksy all over London. 

9. Prague, Czech Republic

A city with thousands of rising spires and crimson rooftops, Prague vibes as a perfect old medieval town where you’ll see all kinds of art on the streets! As you walk its winding lanes, you’ll come across whimsical wooden puppets, yellow penguin statues, or shoes hanging from ropes in the air. The statues and graffiti here show a tendency of being goofy and dark, often to convey deeper meanings. If you’re all for painting your thoughts, don’t forget to grab a spray can and decorate some walls.

 

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The people of Prague prove that Beatles fans are everywhere! The city has a whole wall dedicated to John Lennon which was later scattered with protest graffiti against the communist regime.

 

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Penguin art over a river adds a yolky yellow to Prague’s countryside.

 

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The Hrabal Wall preserves a writer and his cats. A purr-fect dream for most writers and cat lovers!

 

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Sound advice by Pasta Oner

 

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Take a stroll to feel the magical vibe of Prague

As you walk the lanes of these cities, the stories painted will all clamour for you to stop and give it a look, give it a thought. These might make for pretty backdrops for your Instagram, but this style of art is deep, reflective and rebellious. This is an urban art that reflects the history of unique cultures and the creativity of its people. It will make you think. 

 

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