Rio de Janeiro’s Praça Mauá port is a destination for street art lovers, where Brazilian artists adorn the pier in living colour – and muralist Eduardo Kobra is tipped to break a world-record for his 620-foot long “Etnias” inspired by indigenous people living on five continents also represented with green, red, black, blue, and gold rings on the Olympic flag.
Street art enlivens Olympic Boulevard at Praça Mauá port
Besides warm hospitality of the Brazilian people, samba, and Carnival, Rio de Janeiro is also know for its vibrant street art scene. If you’re itching to see some great murals and only have an hour or two, then head to Rio 2016 Olympic Boulevard at Praça Mauá port to look at work by Camila Cadiz, André Gola, JR, Rita Wainer, and of course, Eduardo Kobra.
Camila Camiz creates dramatic black-and-white graphics:
Designer/illustrator André Gola, known for his witty, cartoon depictions of ordinary people in everyday situations, intervenes on the side of the local post office at Praça Mauá port:
French artist JR photographs hundreds of local people and pastes their black and white portraits on the wall, alongside a vivid depiction by an unknown artist of a woman’s face partially concealed by her hair (or is it water?):
But what probably draws people to this area during the Rio 2016 games (aside from its designation as Olympic Boulevard), is the vast mural by Brazilian artist, Eduardo Kobra. These five noble faces survey the meandering crowd, each a memorial to our living ancestors from the continents of Africa, Asia, South America, Europe, and Oceania:
A Mursi from Ethiopia meets my gaze…
The Kayin woman from Thailand sees all…
The Tapajos from Brazil takes centre stage with a regal air…
A Supi man from Northern Europe boldly stares back…
And I am riveted by the Huli man from Papua New Guinea, and our eyes meet for a very long minute.
These exquisite portraits are more than just spray paint, more than decoration; in each visage looking at me looking back at her/him, there is something really important, or, something rather urgent. The story in each pair of eyes is right here and now, referring to the past yet they seem to warn of a near-future in which the wisdom and humanity of our ancestors are about to be forever lost.
As with any street art, no one knows how long they’ll last so definitely go see these striking murals with your own eyes before they are painted over.
More info about Eduardo Kobra’s work
- “This Brazilian artist’s mural could break a world record during the Rio Olympics” in Tech page of Business Insider – 12 August 2016 – “…breathtaking and nearly twice the size of the mural that currently holds the record.”
- Read about Pier Mauá, Rio de Janeiro (English version) – An international cruise port, street art, music and nightlife since 2007
A few of the artists at “Olympic Boulevard” on Pier Mauá, Rio de Janeiro