Education is Not a Crime campaign creates over 40 murals around the World

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 as murals 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 which will end up holding societies back.

Over forty murals have been created so far 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 where an impressive 19 works have been concentrated. Mainly it would seem because of the positive reaction the community there has had to the project.

Elle education is not a crime
Mural from Elle in Harlem. We had previously featured the work of Elle on Inspiring City here.

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, so all the pieces are unique representing the message in whichever way the artist sees fit. It means that each mural really has its own stamp on it and 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 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.

dave the chimp education is not a crime
Detail from Dave the Chimp’s mural in London’s Shoreditch area

Changing the World, One Wall at a Time, is the story of an ambitious campaign,” said Maziar Bahari, 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 – 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 – shows there is a willingness among people many different backgrounds to join such a struggle.”

Next up for the campaign of course are more murals including 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, a convert to the Baha’i faith he had said 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.

Education is not a Crime Gallery

david torres education is not a crime
Rulers by David Torres in Harlem
ASVP education is not a crime
A spiky pencil from ASVP
nasim education is not a crime rone
Portrait of Nasim, an Iranian woman reading a book from Rone
astro education is not a crime
The Gate of Tehran University by Astro
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh education is not a crime
A little girl learning to read by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
BustArt-1591 education is not a crime
A child walking to school with drawings falling away from Swiss artist Bustart
ricky lee gordon education is not a crime
Gentle hearts, a mural from Ricky Lee Gordon, an artist who had also painted one for the campaign in Cape Town
alexandre kato 2 education is not a crime
‘A Family Tree’ from Brazilian artist Kato.
Marina-Zumi education is not a crime
‘No Truth, No Light’ from Marina Zumi depicts a gazelle with its eyes censored by a red line


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