A movie showcasing a Worldwide street art campaign was recently released at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton. Called ‘Education is not a Crime‘ it’s something that we’ve followed for a while here on Inspiring City. Murals in support of the campaign have kept popping up around the world.
Initially aimed at raising awareness of the educational opportunities denied to members of the Baha’i faith in Iran. The campaign soon began to take on a wider meaning. That of saying that no matter where you are or who you are. Not providing education people is the denial of a basic human right. One which will end up holding societies back.
Worldwide Mural Campaign
Over forty murals have been created so far for Education is not a Crime. These are in the likes of Atlanta, Cape Town, Delhi, London, Nashville, Sao Paulo and Sydney. The largest concentration though are to be found though in the New York suburb of Harlem. Here an impressive 19 works have been created. Mainly it would seem because of the positive reaction the community there has had to the project.
The artists only brief is to give their take on the theme. It’s a campaign but it’s not branded and there’s no direct instruction. It means that all the pieces are unique representing the message in whichever way the artist sees fit. Each mural also has its own stamp on it. This is perhaps why the campaign has been able to stretch and gain roots in the likes of Harlem.
The movie features interviews with the likes of Rone from Australia, Astro from France, Marthalicia Matarrita from New York, and Elle from Los Angeles. They tell the story behind their murals and why it is that they wanted to contribute to the project. It also features interviews with Iranian Baha’i themselves with personal experiences of having their right to higher education denied.
There’s also some mention of the two murals for Education is not a Crime which appeared in London. One of which we covered here on Inspiring City from Dave the Chimp. That piece features a number of orange human beans walking with placards in an imaginary demonstration. If any one piece was to show the diversity of the art in the project, then this is surely it.
Changing the World, One Wall at a Time
“Changing the World, One Wall at a Time, is the story of an ambitious campaign” said Maziar Bahari. He was the producer of the film and the founder of the project. “We fought brutality with arts and creativity. The fact that we brought together so many artists. People who did not know anything about the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran, and who then created amazing works of art all around the world. It shows there is a willingness among people many different backgrounds to join such a struggle”.
Next up for the Education is not a Crime campaign are more murals. These include a focus on expanding to Detroit in the same way that a concentration can be found in Harlem. Inspired by the life of former resident Robert Hayden. He became the first African-American to hold the position of poet laureate of the United States. In later life he was a convert to the Baha’i faith. Saying that man should be “permitted to be man” and that people of any background should have the chance to make the most of their lives. A fitting sentiment on which to continue this campaign for the right to further education.
The Education is not a crime campaign was started in 2014 by Maziar Bahari and Saleem Vallencourt. At the time of writing it has produced over 41 murals around the world. Most of the pictures here are courtesy of the campaign and you can see all the murals by clicking here.