In the last two years, I was several times on business trips in the economic capital of Brazil. It is not really a touristic hotspot, comparable to other locations in Brazil, in fact, many tourists skip it, as many other locations have much more to offer. However, there are some hidden jewels, like the sculptural architecture from Oscar Niemeyer in Ibirapuera Park or the Arts Museum on Paulista Avenue. Another one are the Grafittis, or better Murals, like in the area of “Beco do Batman”, Batman’s alley. In this alley and the neighbourhood of Villa Madalena around, these temporary murals are continuously renewed, and cared for by local community members. They differ significantly from the sprayings found in other areas of the city. In Beco do Batman, the paintings range from representations of natural beauty of Brazil over comic like scenes as the encounter of Pelé, Brazils Soccer Hero with the said Batman, toward psychedelic dreams of flying cars, cubistic butterflies in rainbow colors or tree-like human creatures fleeing in panic from new technology and invasions of their homeland.

The paintings started with a paining of Batman on one of the walls in the area, and gave the place it’s name. Today, it is one of the tourist places with many bars, art galleries and the like.

Graffiti ultimately wins out over proper art because it becomes part of your city, it’ s a tool; “I’ll meet you in that pub, you know, the one opposite that wall with a picture of a monkey holding a chainsaw”. I mean, how much more useful can a painting be than that?

Banksy, Street Artist, “Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall” June 2003