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Inspirational Trips for Art Students

By Jennideep Hayre

Posted: 14th August 2014 15:28

South America is a place where cultural and creative diversity are paramount.  Internationally acclaimed artists line the walls of the continents’ notorious galleries, whilst talented, unknown street artists spray paint life into the urban areas, creating a dense web of Latin American inspiration.  With influences that resonate from colonial Spain and Portugal, art students will be saying goodbye to the days of blank canvasses and empty sketchbooks as they absorb the vibes of this colourful continent. 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Anyone seeking inspiration need not look any further than The Rio Carnival.  The globally recognised event, which takes part at the beginning of lent, is an art in itself, with an astounding display of music and colour that would make any other carnival seem lacklustre in comparison.   Additionally, the city is home to a plethora of independent galleries which validate Rio’s status as a must visit destination for art and culture.  The Museum of Contemporary Art, with its saucer shaped building, is an architectural gem and the Casa Daros boasts one of the world’s most extensive collections of Latin American art. 

Rio based artist, Artur Barrio has been in Brazil since 1955 and is worth researching whilst you are in the city.  His influential installations provoke a public interaction and many of Barrio’s works engage the viewer as a participant without their knowledge. 

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Brazil’s largest city may at first glance resemble an intimidating concrete jungle, but as we all know too well, beauty comes from within, and this is certainly true of Sao Paulo.  The city is renowned for its art scene, with whole neighbourhoods dedicating their walls to the display of urban street art.  The Vila Madalena neighbourhood is a concentrated hot spot for artistic experimentation whilst the Cambuci neighbourhood is dominated by the work of OsGemeos (‘the twins’) – two well known brothers and their troupe of graffiti artists. 

Sao Paulo is also the home to the world’s second oldest biennial festival.  The Bienal de Sao Paulo was initiated in 1951 and was preceded only by the world’s oldest biennial festival in Venice.  The festival aims to make contemporary art known in Brazil as well as showcasing Brazilian work to a global audience with intentions of establishing Sao Paulo as an international centre for the arts. 

If your visit does not coincide with the festival then The Sao Paulo Museum of Art is more than a consolation prize.  The 1968 building, with its concrete and glass structure, is a landmark in itself and is internationally recognised for its collection of European art which is considered the finest in the southern hemisphere. 

Buenos Aires, Argentina  

Known for its rich culture and its European influences, Buenos Aires is a hub for artistic variation.  One of the biggest tourist pulls the city offers is the opportunity to meander through the graffiti laden streets, which have been expertly adorned by some of Argentina’s most talented and thought-provoking artists.  Far away are thoughts of vandalism when visitors witness the ambitious and politically aware murals that colour the city; many of which have been funded by the government.  As well as the abundance of paintings, a local artist Marino Santa Maria has transformed the downtown urban area of Barracas, in southeast Buenos Aires, by layering the houses with glimmering mosaics. 

When you’re finished roaming the streets, head on over to the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires, or MAMBA, which boasts over 6000 collections and reopened its doors in 2010 after undergoing a five year, 15 million-dollar renovation.  There are also future plans underway to expand the space to up to four times its current size, making the experience four times as inspirational for you budding artists. 

Santiago, Chile

Chilean culture benefits from a fusion of colonial Spanish and contemporary American culture.  This influence has resulted in a mesh of forms and mediums in the art scene, which have mixed to create a distinct Chilean style.

Santiago is home to Chile’s oldest art gallery which dates back to 1983.  The Isabel Aninat Galeria De Arte dedicates itself to the promotion of Chilean and international contemporary artists and has in the past held exhibitions from A-listers such as Antonio Gaudi.  The Galleria De Arte Cecilia Palma may not be as old, but it is widely known for its regular art contests and as well as being a great place to catch the work of both established and emerging artists; all together it has published over 30 books on Chilean art work. 

West of the city centre lies the neighbourhood of Barrio Brasil, a small district famed for its strong artistic and cultural vibe.  It all started in the 90s when eccentric artists and musicians flocked to the area in search of a tolerant neighbourhood in which to arouse their creativity. 

Lima, Peru

The Inca civilisation rose from the Peruvian highlands in the 13th Century and was eventually assimilated by the Spanish.  Many of their legacies were left behind and the National Museum in Lima showcases traces of Inca art and history, featuring great carved totems and textiles.  Not only does Lima specialise in ancient art, but it holds an annual festival that celebrates contemporary Peruvian work.  LIMA ART is the international art fair in which both local and foreign galleries collaborate in an attempt to create new audiences for Peruvian and international art. 

If you are in search of enlightenment outside gallery walls, then be sure to head down to Lima’s Barranco district.  A previous home to rich and famous Peruvians, this area is now the turf of the thriving artistic community.  Many of the buildings have been taken over by artist collectives and the streets are scattered with bohemian citizens.  The brightly painted art-deco houses and blossoming trees ooze vitality when compared to some of Lima’s less affluent districts, making this a perfect place to plan your next project.  

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