At War With São Paulo’s Establishment, Black Paint in Hand

In São Paulo, a long history of socioeconomic rifts has spilled into the streets in the form of protest graffiti.  As members of the lower class take up black paint to express their anger against the towering inequalities so common to Brazil, the foreign art world has developed a keen interest in the budding practice.  Those living or working in or near the graffitied buildings voice complaints about defacement, but the movement seems to be picking up speed—and garnering more and more attention for its cause.

Their graffiti, called pichação, from the Portuguese verb “pichar,” or cover with tar, reflects the urban decay and deep class divisions that still define much of São Paulo, a city with a metropolitan population approaching 20 million.