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Beco do Batman: Batman's Alley

art & culture

In the Vila Madalena neighbourhood, this district has become the ‘gallery' for the Paulista avant-garde. People come from around the world to see its colourful frescoes.

Not a single square metre is spared. All the walls are covered with huge multi-coloured graffiti. Cubist-inspired works are present alongside psychedelia and fanzine illustrations. Everything is unbridled, uncontrolled, impulsive, and instinctive. It's as though you're in a marginal squat.

This movement started in the 1980s when an unknown tagger covered a facade with a huge portrait of Batman. It gave its name to the neighbourhood, which is literally ‘Batman's Alley'.

Others followed, and gradually, tags and graffiti have transformed the aesthetics of the streets, but also the atmosphere. Now, you stroll through as though in an open-air gallery, sipping on coconut water. Beco do Batman has become trendy. Visit Spray Gallery, which was founded by the graffiti artist Rui Amaral and collector Joseph Souza Queiroz. It is the showcase for street art and exhibits the work of graffiti artists such as Pato Bolita and Cranio. Proof that it has become a real art, street art now has, every odd year, its own biennial, and a new alternative style has emerged. Made with specific lettering, these ‘pixadores' invade buildings in São Paulo's poor neighbourhoods. You cannot miss them, as their challenge is to appear on the facades of the top floors of buildings.

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