With giant murals at the forefront of the message, a recent Manhattan campaign of select walls is intended to make us talk and keep our eyes on an ugly social justice issue that organizers hope we can collectively address: child labor and forced labor.
Even in downtown NYC on Wall Street people will admit that capitalism isn’t cool if we are doing it on the backs of children somewhere. Nobody celebrates that. Do they?
With murals that advocate for “decent work”, asking us to create a better “future of work”, a small inspired group of international artists created impressive new works on Midtown’s East Side – roughly in the area of the United Nations.
Included in the group are Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky), Faith 47, Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, Mr Cenz and Victor Ash. The collection is quite striking on city streets, as are the individual pieces. In fact each artist did their own interpretation of the overall theme by concentrating on direct and ancillary topics: green jobs, youth employment, gender equality at work, child labor and forced labor and the future of work.
Perhaps with some irony, the professionally rendered and emotionally stirring mural by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada (at end of posting) was completed in the face of multiple obstacles that plague Street Artists sometimes, just not usually all at once. Regardless, the piece has an overwhelming impact.
A former culture-jamming urban installation artist who garners serious respect on the street as well as in professional art-world circles, he soldiered on for an installation that included lift equipment failures and a series of uncommon logistical challenges that come with mounting one of New largest mural works on the side of a soaring building that has a relatively narrow city alley. Only Rodriguez-Gerada’s determined vision allowed him to endure through a seemingly relentless torrent of bitter cold rainy spring weather for weeks.
Nonetheless, the results of his work, and of all of these artists, are as remarkable as they are sweet. In the service of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and a philanthropic group called Street Art for Mankind (SAM) these works can hopefully help raise our consciousness and protect children from enslavement and harsh work globally. Remarkably, SAM is going to directly to the heart of the matter, funding efforts to “help fund raid & rescue programs to free children from slavery,” says their press release.
Victor Ash – Green Jobs
Clandestinos – Future of Work
Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada – Child & Forced Labor
To learn more about Street Art For Mankind click HERE
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