A mirror of the capital’s own creativity, the once sad walls of Warsaw have been used to channel its artistic spirit through the medium of large format murals. From a crowded field, we pick our favorites from the past and the present…
Kamien i Co
by Wiktor Malinowski (2009)
Spanning an area of 1,400 sq/m, this mural covers a building that was heavily smashed during the war. Falling inside what was once the Jewish Ghetto, the artwork features a red balloon floating off into the air.
The purpose of this work, it is said, is to foster memory and raise consciousness about the city’s past. As it stands, the mural’s survival could be under threat as developers circle the surrounding real estate.
ul. Waliców 14
by Blu (2010)
One of Warsaw’s earliest murals depicts soldiers as puppets, their traditional insignia replaced by currency symbols.
Painted by the globally recognized Italian artist Blu, the project incorporated traces of an old PRL era mural that had previously covered the building. Plans to replace Blu’s design with another mural were scotched following vocal public protests.
ul. Sienna 45
by Swanski (2012)
Perhaps nowhere better demonstrates the power of street art to transform even the most brutal of edifices than this effort by Swanksi.
Designed in the 70s by Swedish architect Sten Samuelson, the monstrous car park behind the Novotel was handed a new burst of life courtesy of a 20,000 sq/m facelift made possible by a collaboration between Dulux and this locally-based street artist.
by David Celek (2016)
Making the most of a brief stopover at Dw. Gdański, David Bowie set off on foot to Pl. Wilsona where he explored the area and visited a record store.
This short foray into Żoliborz was enough to inspire him to write Warszawa, an eerie instrumental recorded in 1976. Shortly after his death, a mural celebrating his visit was added to the local landscape.
ul. Marii Kazimiery 1
by Pixel Pancho (2012)
A mechanical centaur clad in a Roman helmet takes aim with a bow at a simpering robotic stag in this complex mural.
Painted as part of the Street Art Doping festival, the work takes this duo of mythological creatures and places them in a futuristic context.
ul. Dolna 37
Not All Heroes Wear Capes
by Good Looking Studio (2020)
Bearing the slogan “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”, the mural features members of the public together with Superman looking on admiringly at a team of doctors, nurses and ambulance personnel. In the background, a Polish flag flutter defiantly.
Commissioned by Grupa NaTemat, the project was executed by Good Looking Studio, a group better known for having revived the art of large-scale, hand-painted ads.
ul. Tamka 37
Bird & Snake
by DALeast (2014)
Painted in a day, this image is composed of several thousand tangled strands with the brittle-looking wires merging to form a bird perched on a cobra.
Both exude pride, dignity and defiance, and were painted to encourage respect towards wildlife. Such is the unsettling intensity of the work, it’s said to have caused several motorists to slam on their brakes.
ul. Bliska 23
Warsaw Fight Club
by Conor Harrington (2015)
Says the artist: “I wanted to demystify the classical art which tends to portray these kind of figures as being elegant and statuesque. By presenting them in direct physical combat I wanted to show the harm they are capable of.”
Local councilors, however, have complained that the imagery stands to encourage street violence.
ul. Środkowa 17
by anonymous artist (2017)
Unveiled on the eve of the 73rd anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, this 250-meter work is one of many to commemorate the insurgency that led to the destruction of the city, but is unique for being the only thing related to Polonia Warsaw football club that escapes vandalism from Legia fans.
The location is not incidental: the stadium behind was the scene of heavy fighting.
ul. Konwiktorska 6
by Republic ¥ (2017)
Warsaw gets the ‘monst-art’ treatment courtesy of Republic ¥, a “fictitious, post-colonial state in the middle of nowhere inhabited solely by monsters.”
Inscribed with the mottos Carpe D¥em and Carpe Noctem, the work urges all who pass through this gateway to live life to its fullest.
ul. Bracka 20
by Tytus Brzozowski (2018)
Best-known for his surreal, Warsaw-inspired watercolors, acclaimed artist Tytus Brzozowski has seen his work go XXL with three large-format murals around town.
This was his first, and like the others that have followed, it celebrates the pre-war history of the area while never losing the dreamy themes that feature heavily in his portfolio.
Al. Solidarności 173
by Bruno Althamer (2019)
Honoring domestic rock Goddess Kora – who lost her battle against cancer last year – this mural was painted as part of a wider action to commemorate the great women of Poland.
The work has been intelligently positioned amid the trees so that the musician grows and loses her hair with the passing of each season.
ul. Nowy Świat 18/20
by Phelgm (2013)
Gone but not forgotten, this former comic book artist’s vision depicted a castle floating on a planet maintained by downtrodden minions.
Making full use of the building, the structure’s windows were integrated into Phelgm’s Kafkaesque vision. The tenement has since been bulldozed, leaving only memories in its place.
Formerly ul. Mińska 12