In the heart of Palermo, hidden arts and colours

For several years, examples of impressive street art have been springing up on the streets of Palermo. They aren’t just by local artists, there are also some pieces by international artists who have passed through the city. Let’s look at the areas of the city to see what’s happening, as a starting point for discovering these colorful murals and seeking inspiration.

In recent years the historical market has been more lively by night than by day, being a nightlife hub for students and those in search of street food (such as “pane c’a meusa” [bread with spleen] and boiled octopus) and late night raves into the early hours. Much of the street art is by the Austrian artist Uwe Jäntsch, who lives here and is engaged to the heiress of the Lanza di Scalea family, a very important noble family. Uwe began creating works of art on Piazza Garraffello, where there’s a beautiful sixteenth century fountain. The white walls of the Palazzo Lo Mazzarino are interrupted by a red cross and the words “Uwe ti ama” (“Uwe loves you”). But there are many more, from the works of C215 (one is a portrait of Al Pacino) and the “black” heart of Axel Void, to the mix of Mexico and worry by Tilf and Ema Jons and the puppets of Astro Naut and Bibbito (in Piazza Tarzanà), along with Julieta XLF.

This is a popular area close to the port, where a wonderful social advancement project by the not-for-profit organizations PUSH. and “Per Esempio Onlus”, in collaboration with the street artist Ema Jons, has put the drawings of local children on the walls in the form of graffiti. Mythical creatures and other characters have taken over ancient and newer houses, thanks to money collected from a crowdfunding project. In addition to whales, cats, dogs, mice, reindeer, pigs, octopuses, wolves, cottages, trees and clouds by Ema Jons, there are other contributions such as NemO’s face, Bloom’s woman, the extremely colorful works of Aris and Alleg’s big football. The parking lot of the Ibis Styles hotel is also not to be missed, with the works of Mrfijodor, Corn79, Hunto, Rosk, DMS, Zed1 and Mr. Thoms. Better to visit in the daytime.

In this area there are several murals that date back many years like the enormous and evocative sleeping Pope Sergius I by Sten † Lex on a wall in Piazza Magione. In the rest of the Kalsa area and in Via Alloro you can find many other interesting works by Cyop&Kaf and Lucamaleonte.

This area was used in the last century for industrial purposes. The 23 warehouses were the site of the Ducrot workshops. Today there are occasional cultural activities here, but it could be put to better use. Of particular note are the two men with bare torsos by Rosk and Mirko Loste in collaboration with Javier García Herrero, the revisiting of fairy tales by the Mangiatori di Patate, the depiction of the 80s with its popsicles and telephone directories by Flavio Favelli and a big white skull with geometric patterns by the well-known local tattooist Zingales.

There are many other interesting spots in popular areas like the Mercato di Ballarò but also in the university campus, in the alleys between the Cala and Piazza Marina, and even in troublesome areas such as Brancaccio and lo Zen. For more information follow Street Art Palermo on social media. Here is a complete map of the locations.

Make friends with the people of Palermo (they are generally very friendly) and go discover the city with them!

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