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Arista, Identity 2016.jpg

Overcoming the Demons

In 2016, Joel Artista, several Bengali artists and a group of local teenagers collaborated with the Meridian International Center, the US Consulate and NGO Banglanatak.com to create a mural that highlights the issues facing young people in Kolkata. The young people involved in the project had faced several difficult situations in life, including homelessness, human trafficking, poverty and addiction, but were working to overcome their pasts and were specially selected for this project because of their passion for visual art. The piece is on the large outer wall of the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, a hub of ancient and contemporary Bengali visual art. The project began with a mural workshop from Artista and, after some discussion, the group came up with images that they felt represented a journey from a dark past to a future full of hope.In one section, the young artists painted the personification of the demons in their lives and communities, portrayed as a giant fiend terrorising a city. In the next section, each student painted representations of that which gives them peace, strength and support to fight these demons: positive relationships with family and friends, activities such as art and music, religious faith and education. At the closing ceremony for the mural project, dozens gathered around to celebrate the artwork and its message.Joel Artista (Joel Bergner) has completed several murals against human trafficking and modern slavery. He is an artist, educator and activist who is celebrated for his antislavery artwork and murals. Artista's art is heavily influenced by his work with communities and non-profit organisations, and in 2015 he joined forces with Max Frieder to form Artolution. This community-based arts initiative empowers artists, youth and communities to be agents of positive social change and explore critical societal issues and create opportunities for constructive dialogue.

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Fighting Until We Find Them (Luchando Hasta Encontrarlas)

The project Luchando Hasta Encontrarlas (Fighting Until We Find Them) was started by a group of mothers of girls from Juarez, Mexico who went missing and are presumed dead. The girls' family members and the police believe that these women were kidnapped and trafficked as prostitutes before being murdered. Since 1993 more than 430 women have disappeared and been murdered in the area. The project raises awareness by creating murals in the region, with public buildings, churches and businesses donating their walls for artists to create these pieces. Their aim is to create 200 murals across Ciudad Juarez to raise awareness of what is happening to young girls and women in this region and demand justice for those who have lost their lives. The local authorities told families that they were putting a stop to the search for their daughters, claiming that they were giving the city a 'bad name'. However these families are determined to campaign for justice. The above murals were created by Maclovio Macias and the artist also took part in a 200 mile march with many mothers who have lost their daughters. In the first piece, the quote reads 'No me Hallo. Estoy Desaparecida', which translates to 'I do not find me, I'm missing'. The rest of the mural contains images of mothers holding posters of their missing daughters, and these depict real families and real missing women. For example, the final image shows Esmeralda Castillo, who disappeared on 19th May 2009. 

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#NotForSale

This mural was painted by graffiti artist Gamma Acosta on the side of his family's restaurant. He frequently paints murals on this site and this mural on human trafficking is no longer present. Acosta believes that the temporary nature of his murals encourages people to visit them whilst they are there. Painted in 2015, this piece and its title #NotForSale highlights the issue of forced sexual exploitation.

Zina, Because I am a Girl 2015.jpg

Because I Am A Girl (Blue)

In 2015, the team behind Femme Fierce (the World's Largest All Female Graffiti Street Festival) worked with Women of the World (WOW) and Plan International UK to create a series of murals against forced marriage. Over 150 female street artists took to the graffiti tunnel on Leake Street in Waterloo to support Plan UK’s fight against child and forced marriage. This project was part of Plan International’s worldwide campaign ‘Because I am a Girl’. The walls were painted blue to reflect Plan’s logo and then the female artists let their imagination run wild, painting their interpretations of ‘Because I am a Girl’.Plan International, which works to protect the rights of children, launched this campaign to fight for girls’ rights and gender equality. It is a youth-led, global movement that supports girls to take the lead and influence decisions that matter to them. The charity works on forced and child marriage throughout the world.

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Duality of Humanity

This piece was part of a series of murals created by Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant) under the installation project of the Irvine Contemporary Art Gallery, with other artists including EVOL and PISA73 from Berlin, Gaia and Oliver Vernon from Brooklyn.It shows a Cambodian child holding a machine gun over his shoulder, with a flower in his hair highlighting his youth and innocence. The artist created another piece that protested against child soldiers called 'Duality of Humanity' at 4 Pike Street, Cincinnati. This mural was soon destroyed by the building's owner and the above mural no longer exists either.

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Child Soldiers

This mural was created by students in their Transition Year at Presentation College in Bray and condemns the use of child soldiers. The piece is quite graphic, with the centre featuring an image of a dead child lying on the ground with a large wound on his chest. The words 'our greed', 'brainwashed', 'disposable', 'accountable', 'scars' and 'lonely' cover the mural, and there are reminders of the deadly situation these children are in with the presence of skulls and bones. The students also created 'Child Slavery Mural', which raises awareness of the exploitation of children.

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Stop Child Marriage

This mural protests against early and forced marriage of children. It shows a girl with a covered head looking off into the distance looking somewhat daunted by what lies ahead. The fire at the base of the mural shows this is a dangerous situation for her to be in. The exact location and the date for the mural are unknown.

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Dadaab Refugee Settlement

In 2017 the Dadaab Refugee Settlement provided various canvases and walls for artists who were refugees in the settlement to express themselves. At the time, Dadaab housed around 250,000 people and included people who were affected by the 2011 famine in Somalia. The large scale murals are the work of refugee artists who were supported by FilmAid's team of art trainers. FilmAid International conducted a two week, intensive training program with nine young artists from the Settlements. Through these workshops, participants developed their technical skills and their ability to incorporate stories, emotions and messages into their art. The project's goal was to contextualise and raise awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early/forced marriage, as well as calling communities to become active in its eradication.

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#WallsCANBloom Tanzania

This piece was part of a series of murals created in 9 countries across Africa. The #WallsCANBloom campaign was launched by the Government of Canada in 2016, whereby the government committed $80 million to ending early and forced marriage in Africa.The murals were created on or around 16th June 2016, which is the International Day of the African Child. Local artists, activists, NGOs, schools and communities were involved in the design and execution of the murals. The pieces were displayed on the buildings of Canadian embassies and High Commissions and unveilings of the murals were accompanied by speeches and events. The campaign had a strong presence on Twitter with #WallsCANBloom.This specifc mural was created on the Kizinga Primary School in Mbagala, Tanzania by the students and local community. It promotes the importance of education, showing girls in graduation cap and gown on the right, having received their education and moving onto employment.

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#WallsCANBloom South Africa

This piece was part of a series of murals created in 9 countries across Africa. The #WallsCANBloom campaign was launched by the Government of Canada in 2016, whereby the government committed $80 million to ending early and forced marriage in Africa.The murals were created on or around 16th June 2016, which is the International Day of the African Child. Local artists, activists, NGOs, schools and communities were involved in the design and execution of the murals. The pieces were displayed on the buildings of Canadian embassies and High Commissions and unveilings of the murals were accompanied by speeches and events. The campaign had a strong presence on Twitter with #WallsCANBloom.This specific mural was created by Tladi with children from Soshanguve Seconday School. In one scene, a girl sits below a tree reading a book and there is a heart with the phrase 'love education' in it. In another scene, there is a portrait of a girl with a graduation cap on and a second girl is accepting a degree in a graduation cap and gown. There are also women reading texts on the left hand side of the mural and women as doctors on the right. 

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#WallsCANBloom Mali

This piece was part of a series of murals created in 9 countries across Africa. The #WallsCANBloom campaign was launched by the Government of Canada in 2016, whereby the government committed $80 million to ending early and forced marriage in Africa.The murals were created on or around 16th June 2016, which is the International Day of the African Child. Local artists, activists, NGOs, schools and communities were involved in the design and execution of the murals. The pieces were displayed on the buildings of Canadian embassies and High Commissions and unveilings of the murals were accompanied by speeches and events. The campaign had a strong presence on Twitter with #WallsCANBloom.This specific mural was created by artist ANW-KO'ART with the local community and has several different scenes protesting against early and forced marriage. In one scene, there is a girl being forced to wear a wedding ring, and elsewhere a pregnant girl watches another girl go to school, with the latter celebrating her access to education. At the start of the mural is the phrase 'give me the time to realise my ambitions', with girls holding signs that state 'no to early marriage', 'we want to survive' and 'our studies'. 

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#WallsCANBloom Senegal

This piece was part of a series of murals created in 9 countries across Africa. The #WallsCANBloom campaign was launched by the Government of Canada in 2016, whereby the government committed $80 million to ending early and forced marriage in Africa.The murals were created on or around 16th June 2016, which is the International Day of the African Child. Local artists, activists, NGOs, schools and communities were involved in the design and execution of the murals. The pieces were displayed on the buildings of Canadian embassies and High Commissions and unveilings of the murals were accompanied by speeches and events. The campaign had a strong presence on Twitter with #WallsCANBloom.This specific mural shows children both at school and in forced marriages. It states that children should have full access to high quality education and should not be forced to marry. The piece, created by local artist Docta, highlights the importance of education and encourages children to stay in school to gain qualifications. 

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#WallsCANBloom Nigeria

This piece was part of a series of murals created in 9 countries across Africa. The #WallsCANBloom campaign was launched by the Government of Canada in 2016, whereby the government committed $80 million to ending early and forced marriage in Africa.The murals were created on or around 16th June 2016, which is the International Day of the African Child. Local artists, activists, NGOs, schools and communities were involved in the design and execution of the murals. The pieces were displayed on the buildings of Canadian embassies and High Commissions and unveilings of the murals were accompanied by speeches and events. The campaign had a strong presence on Twitter with #WallsCANBloom.This specific mural focuses on the importance of education in the fight against early and forced marriage. Two children stand in the centre of the piece, both holding pencils as if they were weapons, which they will use to fight forced marriage. Surrounding them are the words 'dream big', 'respect', 'aspire', 'knowledge' and 'empowerment'.

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#WallsCANBloom Ghana

This piece was part of a series of murals created in 9 countries across Africa. The #WallsCANBloom campaign was launched by the Government of Canada in 2016, whereby the government committed $80 million to ending early and forced marriage in Africa.The murals were created on or around 16th June 2016, which is the International Day of the African Child. Local artists, activists, NGOs, schools and communities were involved in the design and execution of the murals. The pieces were displayed on the buildings of Canadian embassies and High Commissions and unveilings of the murals were accompanied by speeches and events. The campaign had a strong presence on Twitter with #WallsCANBloom.This specific mural was created by various artists from the local community on the building of the Canadian Embassy in Accra, Ghana. It highlights the importance of education to the prevention of child and forced marriage, and states that 'A child is not a bride nor a labourer - she is Ghana's future. Empower her!'.

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#WallsCANBloom Zimbabwe

This piece was part of a series of murals created in 9 countries across Africa. The #WallsCANBloom campaign was launched by the Government of Canada in 2016, whereby the government committed $80 million to ending early and forced marriage in Africa. The murals were created on or around 16th June 2016, which is the International Day of the African Child. Local artists, activists, NGOs, schools and communities were involved in the design and execution of the murals. The pieces were displayed on the buildings of Canadian embassies and High Commissions and unveilings of the murals were accompanied by speeches and events. The campaign had a strong presence on Twitter with #WallsCANBloom. This mural was completed by several local artists alongside the community on the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe. It highlights the important role that education plays in stopping forced and early marriage. It contains phrases including 'I was married at 15 and had to drop out of school...what if...?', 'How can we support every girl to achieve her aspirations', 'I go to school with friends to learn and acquire skills' and 'I can be whatever I dream to be'.

Blooming Walls Kenya 2016.jpg

#WallsCANBloom Kenya

This piece was part of a series of murals created in 9 countries across Africa. The #WallsCANBloom campaign was launched by the Government of Canada in 2016, whereby the government committed $80 million to ending early and forced marriage in Africa. The murals were created on or around 16th June 2016, which is the International Day of the African Child. Local artists, activists, NGOs, schools and communities were involved in the design and execution of the murals. The pieces were displayed on the buildings of Canadian embassies and High Commissions and unveilings of the murals were accompanied by speeches and events. The campaign had a strong presence on Twitter with #WallsCANBloom. This specific mural was created at the Migori Primary School and shows the importance of education for young girls. On the far right, a girl is being led away from school and her education, and towards a life of forced marriage.

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The Fruits of Our Labour

This mural was one of Groundswell's projects and was created by the young members of the Mount Eden community with artists Jose de Jesus Rodriquez and Paula Frisch. The project aimed to improve the public's perspective on agricultural and food workers, and highlights the vulnerability of these labourers. Organisers hoped to promote dialogue that considered negative aspects of the food chain and its effect on the community to inspire empathy and activism. Groundswell is an organisation based in New York City that brings together young people, artists, and community organisations to use art as a tool for social change. Founded in 1996 by a group of artists, educators, and activists, the organisation believes that collaborative art-making combines personal expression with the strength of community activism. Over the past 22 years, they have created over 500 murals throughout NYC. The collaborative process behind these artworks demonstrates their belief that art creates community and community creates change.Those who were included in the production of the mural include Jose Almonte, Saul Arias, Chantel Batista, Topaz Bowley, Rafael Cintron, Daniel Datix, Luisaira Duran, Kelanny Estevez,  Sarafanta Kaba, Nicole Mera, Kenneth Navarro, Rodney Nelson,  Emily Ortega, Stephanie Ortega, Aaron Osorio, Brian Perez,  Charleny Reyes, Esmerelda Rivera, Juan Vasquez, Devon Veras, Haiman Sawadogo, John Hilario Torres, Justin Valdes, Keyla Ramirez and Pamela Zambrano.Community partners that were involved in the project were Communities for Healthy Food at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, LISC New York City, New Settlement Apartments and Comprehensive Model School Project 327. The project was funded by Laurie M. Tisch and Illumination Fund. 

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Thistle Farms: Cafe

This mural was created by Mark Palen in 2014 and is situated on the wall of Thistle Farms Cafe, which is part of an organisation that helps survivors of human trafficking. Thistle Farms' mission is to Heal, Empower and Employ. They provide safe housing, economic independence and a strong community of advocates and survivors. A two-year residential program called the Magdalene Residential Programin Nashville, Tennessee provides housing, medical care, education and training for jobs for up to 32 women. Residents and graduates of this program are employed in on of their social enterprises including Thistle Farms Cafe, which sells sells body/home products that are made by these survivors.The organisation was founded by Becca Stevens in 1997 when she provided shelter for five women who had experienced trafficking, violence and addiction. Thistle Farms has helped many women over 20 years and they employ more than 1,800 women worldwide, with more than 40 sister communities.

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Second Life

This piece was created over a year by 15 artists who came together to tell the story of the Chattanooga landscape being reborn. They were inspired to create this piece for human trafficking survivors who are a part of the non-profit organisation Second Life. The idea behind the piece is that, although the outlook for survivors can often look bleak, there is hope.Second Life  was created in 2007 and aims to end human trafficking through prevention, policy and survivor services. They provide individuals, groups and organisations in the Lower East Tennessee region with knowledge of human trafficking to enable them to be aware of signs of this phenomenon and what to do if they have suspicions. They also provide expertise and support to the private and public sectors to help make effective policies that will end human trafficking. Their services also provide aftercare to survivors and they coordinate with community resource providers to address the specific needs of individual survivors.Due to the privacy of survivors and the safeguarding measures that are in place, the exact location of the mural, in East Brainerd Tennessee, is unknown.

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Bring Back Our Girls

This mural was created by Zimmer as part of the Bushwick Collective, New York City's most prolific neighbourhood for street art and graffiti. The piece supports the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, which raised awareness of the kidnap of 276 Chibok girls in Nigeria on 14th April 2014. Many of these girls were sexual exploited and forced into marriage.As of 2018, 57 girls managed to escape, 107 were released, and 112 are still missing. The campaign is demanding that the Nigerian government rescue the remaining girls and reunite them with their families.This mural shows Malala Yousafzai holding a sign with 'Bring Back Our Girls'. The Nobel Peace Prize Winner, who campaigns for girls to have access to education, supports the campaign and called for the Nigerian government to do more to save these girls. Unfortunately the mural is no longer at the location as of September 2017.