Art in the streets of Lagos

Street Art Lagos

This is an automated translation of the German original

What we didn’t expect while strolling through the streets of Lagos: there are a lot of remarkable murals. These murals were by no means created as accidentally as we discovered them: the Laboratorio de Actividades Criativas (LAC) systematically takes care of the colourful streetscape, because since 2011 it has organised some of Europe’s best-known street artists for the ARTURb (Artistas Unidos em Residencia) festival, which provides stimulatingly exciting street art.

Borondo (2014)

Where the Rua Infante de Sagres meets remains of the old city wall, Spanish street artist Gonzalo Borondo realised a mural with acrylic on the wall in September 2014. Almost black and white, but with not insignificant dabs of red. The painting takes up the entire width of the warehouse side along the city wall and, if you look at it currently on Google Maps with shots from July 2020, it has faded badly by now: Street Art Fate…

Sepe (2014)

Just around the corner is a large-scale mural by Polish artist Sepe. What goes around comes around is the name Michal Sepe has given his mural, which is often blocked by cars because there are parking bays. On the artist’s website, however, you can see the mural very nicely – also how the colour tones change with the motif and the stick, which the man first used as a weapon, becomes his own stick.

Schuppentier is watching you

If you continue down the narrow street Largo dos Quarteis, you meet a pangolin that looks at the viewer out of three eyes in its scales…. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything about this purely black-and-white work of art – it’s not on the LAC’s list, so it was obviously created outside the annual ARTURb sessions.

Frederico Draw

On the other hand, the portrait of a man smoking just two houses away is very well documented. Frederico Draw, born in Porto, Master in Architecture from FAUP [2006-13] and member of RUA Collective [2011] applied it in 2016. He uses spray cans like pencils – his large-scale portrait, by the way, was the impetus to take a closer look at other street art during our visit to Lagos (without systematically looking for it). The artist says about himself – written in the nicely distanced third person: „He transforms every surface into a broad sketchpad on which charcoal is replaced by spray cans. The theatrical effect of his features is based on the extremely detailed looks of his subjects, which contrast with the roughness of the face.“

Padure (2016)

On the other – eastern – side of the strictly canalised river Ribeira de Bensafrim near Lagos, we come to the industrial area. Purpose-built architecture and bustling activity – and, fittingly, a mural by Daniel Padure on the back. The artist has named his mural Dive Time, because it can be seen at the back of the shop of the same name. I would have found Diver with Fish Looking Forward to Dinner more interpretatively appropriate. Funny pictures are painted by Mr Padure, who was in Lagos in 2016 and left his mark there several times (by the way, this picture is not on the official map either).

Lagos Street Art

Every mural, every graffiti has an author, of course. But not everything we came across could be researched. This is probably partly because street art is ephemeral. Sometimes, however, there are before-and-after pictures: the tram at Rua Soeiro da Costa 51 is not yet painted on the picture from Google Maps from 2009 – the wall is naked, which does not necessarily make it more beautiful – but that is an eternal point of contention. And what looks like a curious person peeking around the corner in the alleyway view is actually a rather funny vehicle on Rua Primeiro de Maio, which you can still recognise, at least in the July 2020 shot.

Lagos Street Art Bezt

Bezt came to Lagos from Poland to paint a huge mural on Rua Lancarote de Freitas right in front of the Lagos Cultural Centre. Bezt is Mateusz Gapski and part of the duo EtamCru. In 2013, he had an „encounter with the god“ in Lagos.On a green ground, a woman kneels, crouched -because the house is not higher? Is she God? Or is it the fish on the other side of the door? Or is it both of them, as a team? You get closer to the answer when you see an animation of the work on the artist’s website: the fish did not always swim on the wall, but had various mates: in the animation, the fish becomes an eyeball. The eyeball quickly turns into a red octopus, which jumps and becomes a cheese (a Swiss kind, with holes). It’s not magic to go from cheese to rabbit in a top hat – it’s more magic to go from cheese to stinky finger. But at first glance you might think that there’s a griffin sitting there. This turns into a bird from which a skull grows. This is followed by a pixel, a champagne bottle with a skull label, a kind of cupcake, a veritable flash of dark cloud – which becomes a fish. „All the characters were first painted on the wall and then animated,“ Bezt writes under his animation: that would have been exciting to see live in Lagos!

Mar und Add Fuel & Samina

A little further down Rua Lancarote de Freitas, there are two artworks on top of each other: the fuzz at the top is by Gonçalo Mar (Portugal) from 2012 – note the crown! The wall below was created a year later, the two Portuguese street artists Add Fuel & Samina designed it as a mixture of typical Portuguese tiles and portraits of an old man by Samina.


The mural by Argentinian artist Francisco Bosoletti, is located near the LAC Gallery. It was done during ARTURb 2015. (I like the angle of the photo on the LAC page better: there the trees grow out like hair from the head!)

Mr. Woodland

Also in 2015, Mr Woodland from Erding was in Lagos and left (at least) three works there. We saw his fox – and I had to think a little of Janosch, who – with the goose under his arm – says: I’m going to the funeral with the goose. To hers, she just doesn’t know it yet….

Mr. Woodland und Pantonio-Sainer

Next to the colourful work of Mr. Woodland, a more graphic blue/black/white one by the two artists Pantonio and Sainer can be seen – it was created in 2012, when the Woodland wall was still free…

Mister Thoms

„Don’t Take the Bait“ is the name of the painting by Italian artist Mister Thoms, which can be seen not entirely by chance on the side of a building near the Os Lambertos restaurant. The theme of rubbish in the sea has struck a chord with the artist, and there are similar paintings, for example „All you can eat“.

Sources used:
Map of the LAC

All photos taken in October 2017.

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