RIO DE JANEIRO – When it comes to public art in Rio de Janeiro, French street-art star JR’s three massive sculptural images of young athletes in action have garnered most of the international attention. (JR is one of three official Olympic artists-in-residence; the other two are German writer Tilman Spengler and American Vine-video star Gerald Andal.)
But Rio hardly needs to import foreign artists to enliven its streets, as these images show. There’s a stunning diversity of spraycan art all over the city.
Brazil’s own street-art luminary, Eduardo Kobra, leads the parade with his massive Etnias (Ethnicities). Inspired by the competitive spirit of the Games, it’s an attempt at creating the world’s biggest mural for the Guinness Book of World Records. The 30,000-square-foot work covers one wall of a warehouse in the city’s redeveloped port district. “Using a wild quiltwork of brightly colored geometric shapes,” Wired writes, “it portrays the faces of five indigenous men and women from five continents.” That is, one face for each of the five Olympic rings.
The other six photos included in our slideshow portray a grab bag of further visual treats from the streets of the Olympic metropolis.