"There is no wall in blank that I cannot draw"

The decolonization of the city through transgressive urban intervention

By Virtual Museum of Lusophony

Dalai Artist in the wall (21th Century) by Lucas Reis/Margarida AndresenVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Dalai (Rio de Janeiro - 1997) is a Brazilian artist who lives in Portugal. Exploring the city of Porto and its surroundings, the artist proposes a dialogue between spray panting and the city, discussing the decolonization of urban space through art.

Dalai aims to discuss the ressignification of a city crossed by the weight of its historical past (as we can see by the names of historical figures and moments related to a colonial and imperial past) and the present gentrification.

Raul Dória Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Dalai aims to decolonize the urban space through the representation of a face that works as a tag or a signature. This face can be found in several streets and tourist spots of the Porto and some of them are easily recognizable by those who know the city.

Infanta Dona Maria Street (Corner with Barão Forrester Street) (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Located in the parish of Cedofeita , close to Baixa of Porto and the Boa Vista Roundabout, the intervention is close to the Carolina Michaelis Secondary School and the Metro Station that bears the same name.

Infanta Dona Maria Street (Corner with Barão Forrester Street).

Pilar Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Pilar Street

The Pilar Street is located in the parish of Santa Marinha in Vila Nova de Gaia, close to Jardim do Morro. From the intervention site, it is possible to see the Douro River, which is divided into the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

Through the Google Maps platform, it is also possible to locate the points that these faces were painted, and many of these are no longer there, as the City Council of Porto insists on painting all interventions that it considers vandalism in gray. If they erase, Dalai paints again, because the city belongs to the people and his work beyond demarcation of territory is a record of “I was here” or “I'm alive”, absolutely convenient for a black artist from Brazil living in Portugal.

Mirante Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Mirante Street

Located near Cedofeita Street in Porto. Its name refers to a lookout that existed on the site, more or less in the middle of the street, on the left side for those who climb from Cedofeita.

Raul Dória Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Raul Dória Street

The intervention is close to Gonçalo Cristovão Street, Silo Auto and Baixa of Porto. It is a predominantly residential street whose region has been hit hard by gentrification.

Artist's intervention in Raul Dória Street.

Valongo Sanatorium (21th Century) by Margarida AndresenVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Valongo Sanatorium.

Originally called Sanatorium of Montalto or Sanatorium of Monte Alto. Located at Tenente Sá Nogueira Street in Valongo, it was a health facility for tuberculosis patients, deactivated since 1972 and abandoned since then.

Located at Tenente Sá Nogueira street, in Valongo.

Cedofeita Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Cedofeita Street .

The name of this street is a reference to the Church of São Martinho de Cedofeita, built in the 6th century and located nearby. The intervention was carried out on Cedofeita Street, almost on the corner of Boa Vista Street.

In this image is the Cedofeita Street, almost on the corner of Boa Vista Street.

Mirante Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Mirante Street.

The viewpoint that gives the name to the street was owned by the Braga Brothers, which is why they used to call it the “Bragas Viewpoint” - from where it was possible to have a view of the sea.

Infanta Dona Maria Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Infanta Dona Maria Street.

The Infanta Dona Maria, which gives the street its name, was a Portuguese noblewoman who lived in the 16th century, considered a “lover of the arts”.

Infanta Dona Maria street.

Cabo Simão Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Cabo Simão Street.

Located close to D. Luis Bridge that connects the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

Cabo Simão Street.

9 de Julho Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

9 de Julho Street.

Formerly called Rua da Liberdade. The current name dates back to the Portuguese Civil War, as it was through this street that, on the 9th of July 1832, the so-called “Army Libertador”, led by D. Pedro I (D. Pedro IV, in Portugal), arrived in the city of Porto. The Portuguese Civil War was fought in Portugal between constitutional liberals and absolutists, divided over the royal succession between 1832 and 1834.

Codeçal Stairs (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Codeçal Stairs.

Located in the parish of Sé in Porto, in the part that was conventionally called “Old Porto”, an area frequently explored by tourism due to its historical condition.

Codeçal Stairs.

Barão de Forrester Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Barão de Forrester Street.

The Baron of Forrester who gives the name to this street was an English businessman living in Portugal.

Fontainhas (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Fontainhas.

Fontainhas is an area of the city of Porto known mainly for its festivities of São João. Although it has an intense tourist exploration, the region also has many local businesses and residents who have lived there for many years.

Cabo Simão Street (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Cabo Simão Street.

Located near the Infante Dom Henrique Bridge (Prince Henry the Navigator Bridge), one of the initiators of the so-called portuguese colonial expansion.

There is no wall in blank that I cannot draw (21th Century) by Sofia QuintasVirtual Museum of Lusophony

"There is no wall in blank that I cannot draw"

In this video, the artist Dalai talks about his art and the relationship with the city.

Credits: Story

Curatorship: Lucas Reis
Video: Margarida Andresen e Lucas Reis
Artist: Dalai
Photography: Courtesy of the artist

References

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Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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