- Words by Sarah Sansom, Photos by Just a Spectator
Inspiring New Murals by Street Art for Mankind
This month, Street Art for Mankind partnered with the International Labour Organization to produce inspiring murals about social justice around the United Nations Headquarters. They capture key themes of the ILO’s efforts to ensure “decent work” for all, and inspire each one of us to create a better future.
Five massive murals were created highlighting themes of green jobs, youth employment, gender equality at work, child labor, forced labor and the future of work. Visitors can experience a guided audio tour of the murals through the Street Art for Mankind “Behind the Wall” app, which can be downloaded for free.
The murals are by a diverse group of international street artists, representing 10 nationalities and styles: Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky), Faith XLVll, Jorge Gerada, Mr. Cenz and Victor Ash.
Here at Sold Magazine, we were thrilled to watch our favorite artists work incredibly hard to achieve new heights in our home city:
The UK's Mr Cenz battled a hand injury and windy conditions to complete his biggest-ever mural at Uganda House. Photos by Just A Spectator
Mr. Cenz came down from his lift to tell us how he hoped to inspire personal growth and development. HIs mural, directly opposite the UN, depicts a woman reaching for the stars. He used a photo of a New York model for reference, and incorporated the Ugandan flag colors. He free-styled the remainder of the artwork around her without pre-planning it, which is pretty impressive.
'We are honored and proud to be able to help the ILO, the first specialized agency of the United Nations, spread the word on such critical topics for the future of our society.
The artists have put all their heart and soul in their murals to create spectacular masterpieces.
We are very excited by to present to the public of New York.
Art is a universal language. It helps us reflect on the current state and future of our society.
Art truly has the power to change the world.' - Thibault & Audrey Decker, Street Art for Mankind
Portuguese-born, Paris-bred and Copenhagen-based Victor Ash painted his inspiring astronaut at the Indian Permanent Mission to the UN.
As artist Victor Ash, who has worked in New York, Paris, and Chennai, said to the Inaugural tour group, 'It's important that we work together for a greener future. I also combined the ILO logo into my mural because the future of workers is so important.' He had a great experience working at the mission, with onlookers bringing food and talking to him in support (The mission also supplied our tour with a surprise lunch, which was greatly appreciated by a hungry crowd).
'The street art murals will all speak for themselves and are a powerful way to convey core messages on social justice... and we hope they will draw attention to the importance of decent work for all.'.- Vinicius Pinheiro, ILO New York
Brazilian, Canadian-based duo Clandestinos brought their vibrant colors to East 48th Street
Duo Clandestinos, formed of real-life partners Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky, painted their mural 'The Future of Work' with layers of acrylic, spray paint and finally varnish. The pair worked solidly on their mural for over 5 days, and is the first by Shalak since becoming a mother 5 months ago. The mural in one of their most detailed, as it can be seen close up from the street.
Cuban, Barcelona-based Jorge Gerada brings one of his grand-scale portraits, still in-progress, to 42nd Street.
Jorge Gerada's mural, one of the largest in New York, reaches 13 stories in height. The artist, who formerly worked in New York as part of the 90's Culture Jamming movement, is painstakingly depicting a child and two beautiful flowers with the purpose of highlighting child slave labor practices. Stay tuned for our upcoming interview.
South African Faith XLVll painted her mural on the topic of gender equality with help from her sister on East 44th Street
On finishing her mural, Faith XLVll spoke to her gratitude for those who fought for womens' right to vote in the 20's, for equality in the 60's, and the ongoing work to be done, both domestically and internationally. With her work she hopes to inspire humanity on earth in a polarized society, and to find the balance of masculine and feminine perspectives as part of healing our planet.
An inaugural walk led by Street Art for Mankind and the ILO on April 9 allowed the artists and representatives from each consulate/building to talk about the topic and impact of each murals.
L-R: Mr. Cenz, Audrey Decker, Faith XLVll. VIrcto Ash, Jorge Gerada, Bruno Smoky and Thibault Decker
Street Art for Mankind's 'Behind the Wall' app guides you through the artworks with an audit tour and map. When you scan the artworks, you receive information about the mural's purpose, the artist and their techniques. You can also buy prints of each artist's range of work.
Download the app for Android here, IOS devices here
Grab the app, get your walking shoes on and and get to Midtown!
Street Art for Mankind also has two events coming up:
April 28, Mamaroneck Historic Murals: A guided tour around freshly painted artwork by Mr.Cenz, Victor Ash, Bruno Smoky, Shalak Attack, Frank Parga and Loic Ercolessi, Register for free tickets here.
May 10, Manhattan Freedom Art Walk: A 1.5 mile Street Art tour around Lower Manhattan on a mission to raise awareness of and end child trafficking. Register for free tickets here.
The UN murals are located in Midtown East between East 42nd and East 48th Streets
About International Labour Organization (ILO):
The International Labour Organization is the only tripartite United Nations agency. Since its creation in 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men. The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.
Website and Facebook: ILO.org
Instagram: @ILO_NewYork @ILOinfo
About Street Art for Mankind (SAM):
SAM is a 501c(3), non-profit organization working with prominent street artists from all around the world to raise awareness on child slavery through the power of art. SAM curates and produces innovative festivals, live performances, exhibitions, murals and art classes in NY and across the world. All art pieces created are for sale, and their proceeds help fund raid & rescue programs to free children from slavery.
Facebook & Instagram: @StreetArtMankind