La Madone de São Paulo – São Paulo, Brazil - Atlas Obscura
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São Paulo, Brazil

La Madone de São Paulo

This giant mural of Santa Muerte in downtown São Paulo reminds passersby of their own mortality. 

Painted on the side of a building in downtown São Paulo, this elegant and fantasmagoric mural representation of Santa Muerte, aka Our Lady of Holy Death, confronts you with your mortal coil and finite time on Earth.

The genesis of this contemporary memento mori, titled La Madone de São Paulo, came in 2015 through an artistic collaboration between the Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz and the Chilean artist INTI. It was created for the first international O.bra Festival, a collective art project that aims to bring mind-blowing art to urban settings. 

The mural was created in time for the Brazilian All Saints’ Day on November 2, 2015. The holiday is an equivalent of the Day of the Dead, which although not as spectacular as it is in its birthplace of Mexico is still an important annual celebration for Brazilians. Since then the mural has been reminding passersby of the inextricable march of time and of their own mortality, in a Latino life-affirming street art kind of way, and it is hoped it will continue to do so for many years more.  

Know Before You Go

Note that it is not a good idea to visit the area at night as there is some considerable risk of being mugged. If you do decide to go to see the mural after dark then go in a group, be aware of your surroundings and be careful. A much better idea is to take a visit during the day when there is a stronger police presence in the area and it is generally safer.The mural is located in the downtown area of Anhangabaú, which translates to "water of the bad spirit" in Tupi, the now-extinct language of the indigenous people of the region. It is located a short walk from the Anhangabaú metro station, on the red line.

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