Apolo Torres’s São Paulo mural of a school girl reaching for books – and knowledge – with a snake at her heels is one of the most iconic and largest Education Is Not A Crime murals in the world.
Artists Marcelo Melo and Gustavo Amaral created this epic street painting on the pavement of the Atlantica, one of the busiest avenues in the city of Rio, Brazil.
The impressive large piece depicts a sapling growing out of a tree which has been destroyed, highlighting how the Baha'i community of Iran continues to seek knowledge despite the Iranian government's efforts to bar them from it.
In Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia the artist Eder Muniz (the calango) has painted a vivid and enchanting mural in defense of the Baha'is of Iran.
Location: Rua Carlos Gomes (Carlos Gomes road)
Leonardo Smania Donanzan from Americana (State of São Paulo) has completed a lucid depiction of a young Baha'i student, he hopes that this work will serve as a constant warning against the prohibition of rights and any form of religious intolerance.
Location: Avenida São Jerônimo, 1495
Freddy Sam is a self-taught artist born in Johannesburg and now living in Cape Town. He is renown for his large scale murals which focus on bringing to light relevant social issues, exploring the nature of man in present society, in history and in nature. His achievements in public art have made it onto CNN, Mail & Guardian’s ‘200 young people in SA who make a difference’ and National Geographic’s list of ‘11 street art greats’ alongside the likes of Banksy.
The mural in Cape Town titled Our Gentle Hearts has captured the attention of city dwellers, poised amongst the buildings a photorealistic painting of a boy tending to an injured bird, the elegant text overlay reads:
OUR GENTLE HEARTS, FEEL MUCH AND KNOW LITTLE
The artist expands - 'this text is not only about the students who are denied education or those who deny basic human rights, but it is also referring to the rest of society, as in todays world we should not be so ignorant and stand by whilst crimes against humanity exist'.
Location: 24 Barack St.City center
Re-imaginers Andrew Whispa and Wesley Pepper state that: art has the strength to make reality say what it would not have been able to say by itself or what it might have left unsaid. The Open City Project is a street art project that deals with direct democracy and re-imagining public space. Our work covers social themes that affect the average South African, creating a dialogue between the viewer and the art.
The #NotACrime Campaign and the awareness its works to raise on the plight of the Baha'is in Iran is the perfect extension of the project. Our concept is inspired by Johannesburg street vendors/traders and the public art scene. Johannesburg, the New York of Africa, is a wealthy city with most of its wealth and influence located in specific areas. The street vendors are aware of this and they strategically place themselves at road intersections and street corners to maximize their influence.
These vendors have become part of the city of Jo'burg's culture, people like window washers, mimes and vendors are seen as a both a nuisance and convenience. In other words you can't ignore them and they are going nowhere.
In contemporary South Africa we are bombarded with so many social injustices and rhetoric that we seem to only pay attention to our own issues rather than the rest of the world. Our attention spans are minimal and we only pay attention to global issues if it's blasted all over the mainstream media.
It's with this mindset that we drew a line across the street vendors and mainstream Johannesburg culture. The first stage of our campaign was to place ourselves at a busy road intersection at the epicenter of the media and film hub in Johannesburg. We strategically stood there with artworks almost forcing the public to pay attention.
We followed up with a mural at a strategic intersection using the footage taken from the previous public art installation as reference. Lastly, we published zines that contains a mash of artwork and the campaigns hash tags in order to create a tangible legacy to the campaign.
Location: Jan Smuts Av and Empire Road, Parktown
Camo is a Sydney based street artist. He started tagging buses when he was about 14 and now he mainly creates street art with stencils. He enjoys painting outdoors to add colour to the streets. He likes the idea of making someone smile on their walk to work. For the #NotACrime Campaign, Camo painted a pile of books chained together to depict how knowledge is locked out of reach of Baha'i students.
The top book has the acronym 'BIHE' which stands for Baha'i Institute of Higher Education, the underground organisation comprised of professors and students who conduct their lectures in peoples' homes, usually over Skype. Next to the books is a disheartened youth staring at the ground.
Location: Applebee street St. Peter's
Krimsone and Scott Nagy teamed up to create this colourful piece for the #NotACrime campaign. Krimsone is a Sydney based artist that practices in fine art as well as street art. With qualifications in printmaking and lots of experience with aerosol his work mixes high and lowbrow art together.
Scott Nagy's style shines through with his attention to detail and more surreal scenes and is combined with Krimsone's love of animals and vivid colour schemes. Their mural depicts that of the Persian national bird, the nightingale, it takes flight aided with study tools to push its momentum upwards and away. The grey strings of the government trap its wings and try to prevent its take off, impeding the right of education the national bird, and the people are unable to fly and soar.
Location: Newtown, behind Lentil as Anything
Artists kennardphillipps are renowned for addressing social and political issues in their work and are known for the acclaimed image of Tony Blair’s ‘selfie’ Photo Op. In a statement released by the duo they explain:
'The repression of Baha’is in Iran has come to our attention through this project. Highlighting injustices around the world is central to what we do in our work. We hope this huge image in London will encourage people to look at this issue of persecution.'
Location: Holywell Lane, Shoreditch (artwork is no longer on display).
Previously, Dave the Chimp created a playful mural at the Village Underground street art wall on Holywell Lane in Shoreditch. The British artist and illustrator based in Berlin painted his depiction of human “beans” parading placards with positive slogans as a major contribution to the #NotACrime campaign focusing specifically on the persecution of Iran’s Baha’i religious minority.
Dave the Chimp’s work mixes cute and childlike styling with political messages. He began painting at least ten years ago and is influenced by skateboard culture and the urban landscape. His work can be identified by his positive messages and has appeared on the streets, in galleries and in publication across Europe.
Harsh Raman, creative director of Harkat Studios works to ‘spread ideas through street art’ across New Delhi. For Raman, art has historically been displayed in galleries and this absence of art for the masses made him want to explore with street art.
"Street art acts as a social equaliser in a country such as India with huge economic disparities,” commented Raman, “you can be rich or poor but everyone can enjoy public art and is free to have their own interpretation of it. It’s art for everyone but can be owned by no one.”
Raman’s Delhi mural features a 3D image of a young boy trapped in the wall and reaching out for pages from a book. The book has torn out pages falling to the ground which read “Education is strength,” “Education is future,” “Education is freedom,” and the campaign slogan #Education is not a crime.
Location: Agrasan Ki Baoli, Hailed Lane, Hailey Road near the British Council and the 14th Century historical step wall.