Photo Essays

World’s Longest Graffiti Street in China?

MANILA, Philippines — As is so often said about Chongqing, you’ve never heard of it, but with 30 million people and rising, it’s one of the largest municipalities in the world (for perspective, all of New York state has some 20 million people).

Located in the heart of southwest China, a former city in Sichuan Province but now independent, Chongqing also hosts the country’s longest graffiti street, and perhaps the world’s.

In this land of superlatives, Chongqing’s graffiti street stands out, the work of hundreds of students from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, one of the country’s more prestigious art universities. The work covers some 40,000 square meters of wall along 1.25 kilometers of Huangjueping Street (黄桷坪), affectionately known as Graffiti Street (涂鸦路) by locals.

Here’s a photo tour of Graffiti Street, which I snapped a few weeks ago during a brief visit to cities along the Yangtze River (special thanks to Sara Marie Watson for introducing me to the area). If you have information about the artists who made this work please get in touch.

It starts simply enough, in the midst of one of Chongqing’s many hills.

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Some of the styles resemble what I saw growing up in the Silverlake/Echo Park area of Los Angeles, a sure sign of the internet’s influence in street art culture.

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The art covers not just the walls along the street but entire apartment buildings.

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The works wrap around porches and envelop windows.

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The colorful shoes near the base of this building seemed like part of the work, matching the shape and tone of the characters above. But they just happened to be drying on extended pipes. A shoe washer was working nearby.

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“Tuya Street” means “Graffiti Street,” and the painted smokestack references the real smokestacks in the distance.

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As with many buildings in China, the work seems older than it is. The date in the top right corner of this building reads 2007.6.9, or June 9, 2007. Smog has given it a few more years in age.

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I liked this juxtaposition of zebra patterns, a gun, and the Oscar trophy.

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“Graffiti Street” continues, in a sense, within Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in a studio area known as The Tank, the site of an actual tank.

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The figure on the right: “Are you happy?” The figure on the left: “No.”

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Visitors at The Tank studio complex. On the day we visited, no studios were open.

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You can find more photos online. Daniel Man posted some good area shots, and Neocha has some great stencil details.

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