Art can be a powerful force of change in the world. An artist using their talent to draw attention to societal, economic, and political issues is not by any means a new phenomenon. Street art, in particular, seems to attract those who want to express their frustration with the status quo. In Portugal, the renowned street artist Bordalo II made an impressive attempt to highlight the vast void between the government and its citizens. His new artwork, a long trail made from enlarged €500 bills, appeared in the venue that was supposed to host a mass and welcome Pope Francis.
Portuguese Street Artist Makes a Point with a Massive Installation
$177 million was allocated to the preparation for World Youth Day on August 6 and the visit of the head of the Catholic Church to Lisbon. This enraged a significant number of people in Portugal, including politicians and public figures, where poverty and economic inequality are on the rise.
Among those dissatisfied with the use of public funds for symbolic ceremonies was the famous Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, known under his pseudonym Bordalo II. He took a radical artistic approach to criticizing the financial decisions made by the Portuguese government by creating a large-scale installation and placing it right in the middle of the venue in Parque Tejo designated for the upcoming mass.
The artwork, fittingly called “The Walk of Shame,” resembles a long carpet, not unlike the red carpets used at movie premieres. What is striking about it is that it is entirely created from big €500 bills made by Bordalo II from recycled materials. The artist posted about his new project on Instagram and condemned the government for its misuse of the funds. He emphasized the fact that Portugal is a secular state, and the money should have gone to causes that would improve the quality of life of its many citizens.
Bordalo II is known for his vibrant installations, sculptures, and murals made from trash, which are meant to spotlight the issue of climate change. He is an acclaimed street artist, with his pieces displayed in the streets of many cities in the United States, French Polynesia, Singapore, and Europe.
“The Walk of Shame” makes a strong statement about the governments around the world prioritizing symbolic acts over making real changes. Artists like Bordalo II help the world become more aware of these injustices.