10 World Cup Graffiti

July 4, 2014

When it comes to the World Cup fever, and all the pomp that surrounds the event, different opinions are being brought up on the subject. Some of those opinions are expressed through the art of graffiti, and here, we take a look at ten World Cup graffiti in Brazil. In the same manner, we've recently addressed the emergence of street art in public places in major cities in Brazil, which is, on the one hand, pro-World Cup, and on the other, pretty much “in your face” anti-tournament.

Anti World Cup

Every major sporting event in the world comes with the protests which draw attention to poverty and social injustices, because to organize such an event, a country has to spend millions of dollars. This was the theme of protests that had swept Brazil last year. Over one million Brazilians took to the streets across their country, demanding the cancellation of the World Cup 2014. Alongside those events, the artistic protest took place.

According to the survey released by the Pew Research Center, about 61% of Brazilians thought hosting the event was a bad thing for Brazil, because it took money away from education, health care and other public services, and only 34% thought the World Cup 2014 would create more jobs and help the economy. This concern has led many street artists to paint some of the most powerful paintings with messages related to poverty, injustice, corruption, and crime in the streets of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Pro World Cup

But not everyone was frustrated with the amount of money spent on the tournament. After all, people of Brazil view football as religion. The streets of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo also host a lot of graffiti that celebrate the tournament, and we had a chance to see some of the most interesting collaborations between football and street art. One of the most impressive is, certainly, the Brazilian world cup team Boeing 737, painted by the Brazilian artist twins - Os Gêmeos. Dozens of portraits rendered in artists’ signature style, were meant to represent the people of the Brazilian culture, covering the entire façade of the plane.

While the global event justifiably causes fury and anger, in the end, football is still a unifying force that is above everything. In such context, we bring you some pro-World Cup, and some anti-tournament photos of murals from around the country for your review.

Paulo Ito - Exposing the country to its problems

Perhaps one of the most powerful murals, which had immediately gone viral on social media, was painted by the Brazilian street artist Paulo Ito. It depicts a weeping, starving Brazilian boy at a dinner table, where instead of food, he is being served a football on a golden platter. The mural was painted on the entrance of a public schoolhouse in São Paulo. “It’s a good way to expose the country’s problems,” Paulo Ito told the Guardian. “If the government doesn’t want to expose these things it’s because they feel ashamed. If they feel ashamed by this they might take it more seriously – at least, that’s our intention.”

Favela World Cup

Street art piece showing the chalk outline of a murder victim, in front of a metal goal post on a football pitch in a Brazilian Favela. The creator of the piece is unknown, but the message is unmistakable. It tries to highlight the contrast of the glamour of FIFA and World Cup in huge stadiums, and the devastating situation of Brazil's ghettos.

World Cup Mascot Mural

The mural depicts the 2014 World Cup Brazil mascot, Fuleco, that wears a white t-shirt which reads - Brasil 2014. Fuleco is a three-banded-armadillo that is only found in Brazil, and is classified as an endangered species. The armadillo as mascot should draw attention to Brazil's great biodiversity, and also raise awareness for ecological thinking. The name Fuleco is a combination of the words Futebol and Ecologia.

Head on the Cup

The paste-up street art shows a small boy with his head resting on the greatest trophy in the world of football - the world cup. Beside the trophy, the artist pasted an empty plate with an empty cup sitting on it. The artist also incorporated the official Fifa World Cup sticker to make his criticism unambiguous.

Barba - Highlighting the beauty of the World Cup

Brazilian artist, Barba, made a mural in Rio de Janeiro that highlights the beauty of the World Cup in Brazil. The mural shows a woman leaning forward on a colorful background. Part of that background is a section in which Barba painted the jerseys of Neymar (#10), and Julio Cesar (#12).

Two Sides of the Medal

This graffiti is one of the most elaborate pieces referencing the World Cup in Brazil. The artwork shows two Brazilian adolescents between the reality of their favelas, and the illuminated football world which is taking place right next to it. The figurative graffiti artwork shows the boy with heavy weaponry in his hand, while the crying girl next to him holds a crack pipe in her hand. Despite the inequalities they are confronted with, they show support for their team and their country by wearing the jerseys of their heroes. The favela, sprayed on the left side, shows a school with anonymous children with mice heads in front of their school. The painting, to the right of the boy, depicts a football stadium under a blue sky at which the armed boy is gazing upon, in admiration.

Os Gemeos - Painting an airplane

Brazilian artist twins Os Gemeos painted on an extraordinary scale, tagging the entire facade of a Boeing 737, which transported the brazilian national football team from city to city during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Dozens of portraits, meant to represent the people of the Brazilian culture, are rendered in artists’ signature style: elongated faces, quirky outfits, colorful skin and animated expressions.


This piece shows an Avatar-like figure with traditional Amazonian feather headdress and bracelets, alongside a Brazilian football jersey and a smartphone. The figure was painted in a slight 3-D effect, standing next to the Brazilian flag that reads "SOLD" in red drip-lettering instead of the usual "Ordem e Progresso".

Hulk Pulling the Street Car

The mural above shows a street car filled with Brazilians. The trolley is being pulled by the incredible Hulk, which is also the name of a player from the national football team. Although the green beast wears shorts with the number 19, which belongs to Willian (7 belongs to Hulk), we understand the reference that he should be the pulling force in the 2014 World Cup for the Brazilian team. The player usually made out for this task is Neymar, he would be delighted that some weight is lifted of his shoulders and put into Hulk's arms. Above and around the street car, the artist painted the national flags of several participating nations.

From Pro to Con - Neymar mural vandalized

This mural was initially intended to support the World Cup, and the Brazil's greatest football star - Neymar. However, it didn't take long until the Nike supported mural got vandalized, and Neymar was furnished with a ski mask, his name barred and the Nike sign on his chest crossed out. We completely understand the criticism, but this is just not the best example of it. Nonetheless, once again, it underlines the division in Brazil's population when it comes to the World Cup.

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