From a desperate alligator climbing the walls, to giant pecking birds and a suited king sipping from a globe with a straw, Lisbon's streets have been transformed.
What do you do when your country's in recession and on the brink of being bailed out by a very grumpy EU? You paint the town red. And yellow and lilac and aquamarine. This, at least, is the idea behind Portugal's Crono, an urban art project which aims at pairing up some of the world's best street artists with beautiful, old, and lately abandoned buildings in the heart of Lisbon.
Crono began a little over six months ago and has already had a significant impact on the way the city looks. The project sees urban artists collaborating with the City of Lisbon, who kindly donate the spare brick walls for the public artistic good. From a desperate alligator climbing the walls, to giant pecking birds and a suited king sipping from a globe with a straw, the Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo, where the works predominate, has been transformed.
At a time when cities seem as ephemeral as the pieces of street art which are often hastily scrubbed off the walls by governments, Crono is based on the premise of "the city as a living organism which is built and created in a spontaneous, natural and free way". It would be nice to see Australia's major city councils talking in the same way.