You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Opinion

OP/EXTRA | HEATHER HOPP-BRUCE

9 stunning photos of Brazil’s World Cup street art

A new decree signed by Rio De Janeiro's mayor fully legalizes graffiti on designated city property, including columns, gray walls and construction siding, so long as the property isn't historically designated.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

A new decree signed by Rio De Janeiro's mayor fully legalizes graffiti on designated city property, including columns, gray walls and construction siding, so long as the property isn't historically designated.

Continue reading below

Boston glimpsed the power of Brazilian street art when a 70-foot-by-70 foot mural of a boy in pajamas showed up in Dewey Square in 2012. Some were shocked (it depicts a terrorist!), some were awed (the colors!), but all then knew of the twin Brazilian graffiti artists Os Gemeos.

But that was just a glimpse. In Brazil, street artists have embraced a new gift from Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes: the full legalization of graffiti on specified city property. The resulting paintings, many of which depict a city torn between its love for soccer and anger over money spent hosting the World Cup, are stunning.

Could Boston’s street artists, given a similar opportunity, create that strong a testament to the human spirit here? There’s only one way to find out.

World Cup-related graffiti in Sao Paulo. Brazil has won five World Cups, more than any other nation.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

World Cup-related graffiti in Sao Paulo. Brazil has won five World Cups, more than any other nation.

Children stand in front of a graffiti-covered wall at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro. The photo was taken during a protest against conditions in Rio’ slums. Participants called on the Brazilian government to bring education, health and public services up to the same standards as the 2014 World Cup stadiums.

REUTERS

Children stand in front of a graffiti-covered wall at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro. The photo was taken during a protest against conditions in Rio’s slums. Participants called on the Brazilian government to bring education, health and public services up to the same standards as the 2014 World Cup stadiums.

A wall in Rio de Janeiro is decorated with a mural depicting Brazilian soccer player Hulk. Teams from 32 nations will compete in the upcoming World Cup, with Sao Paulo hosting the opening ceremony and kick-off match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

AP

A wall in Rio de Janeiro is decorated with a mural depicting Brazilian soccer player Hulk. Teams from 32 nations will compete in the upcoming World Cup, with Sao Paulo hosting the opening ceremony and kick-off match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

Brazilian artist Jambeiro paints graffiti in reference to the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.

REUTERS

Brazilian artist Jambeiro paints graffiti in reference to the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.

A boy prepares to fly a kite next to graffiti, by Brazilian artist Cranio, depicting an indigenous man, in reference to the 2014 World Cup, in Sao Paulo.

REUTERS

A boy prepares to fly a kite next to graffiti, by Brazilian artist Cranio, depicting an indigenous man, in reference to the 2014 World Cup, in Sao Paulo.

A man walks in Rio de Janeiro behind a graffiti depicting Brazilian soccer player Neymar and a phantom representing the Uruguayan soccer team, which won the 1950 World Cup.

REUTERS

A man walks in Rio de Janeiro behind an image depicting Brazilian soccer player Neymar and a phantom representing the Uruguayan soccer team, which won the 1950 World Cup.

A woman in Rio de Janeiro walks past graffit about the 2014 World Cup.

REUTERS

A woman in Rio de Janeiro walks past graffiti about the 2014 World Cup.

A family walks past graffiti in reference to the 2014 World Cup, in the Vila Flavia slum of Sao Paulo May 28, 2014. The art is by members of OPNI, a Portuguese acronym which means "Unidentified Graffiti Artists,” was formed in 1997 as a means of transforming the streets in the slums into an open-air gallery where the group could express their gripes while also denouncing what they perceive as social injustice. Graffiti artists in Sao Paulo are using their art to take jabs at the establishment they believe have engaged in gross overspending in preparation for this year's World Cup in Brazil.

REUTERS

A painting adorns a building in the Vila Flavia slum of Sao Paulo May 28. The art is by members of OPNI, whose Portuguese acronym stands for "Unidentified Graffiti Artists.” The group was formed in 1997 as a means of transforming the streets in the slums into an open-air gallery where the group could express their gripes while also denouncing what they perceive as social injustice. Graffiti artists in Sao Paulo are using their art to criticize what they view as gross overspending in preparation for this year's World Cup in Brazil.

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week