Tag, Lisbon’s It
A short walk through just about any part of Lisbon exposes the city’s complex relationship with graffiti. From tagging vandalism by local youth to street art masterpieces created by international artists with city permission, a confrontational conversation is taking place out loud on the surfaces of derelict buildings, on makeshift plywood galleries and on the sides of trolley cars. With a youth unemployment rate of over 34%, street art gives outsiders a window into Lisbon’s historical and generational wealth and economic gaps. Whether viewed as a public nuisance, as citizen protest or as fine art, the graffiti of Lisbon represents one of the few outlets of political commentary and contemporary culture on public display in this otherwise antiquated and reserved city.