Naw Ruz marks the end of the Fast and the beginning of a new year in the Baha’i calendar. Naw-Ruz is a celebration of a “spiritual springtime” that symbolizes both individual renewal and mankind’s revitalization.
In this ‘Part 2’ of Baha’i Blog’s selection of street art from the #NotACrime campaign, we showcase another five works of art being carried out around the world.
#NotACrime is a global campaign which uses street art to raise awareness about the denial of education for the Baha’is in Iran and in this Baha’i Blog Image post, we’ve decided to showcase some of this wonderful artwork going up on walls around the world.
The Baha’is are Iran’s largest religious minority, and the Iranian government has persecuted them since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Businesses are torched, people are fired from their jobs, thousands are harassed and jailed, and hundreds have been killed. The government also bans the Baha’is from teaching and studying in Iranian universities. (Read some background to the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran here).
Shown above is the work of artist Camo, a Sydney based street artist. He started tagging buses when he was about 14 and now he mainly creates street art with stencils. He enjoys painting outdoors to add colour to the streets. He likes the idea of making someone smile on their walk to work. For the #NotACrime Campaign, Camo painted a pile of books chained together to depict how knowledge is locked out of reach of Baha’i students.
The top book has the acronym ‘BIHE’ which stands for Baha’i Institute of Higher Education, the underground organisation comprised of professors and students who conduct their lectures in peoples’ homes, usually over Skype. Next to the books is a disheartened youth staring at the ground.
Location: Applebee street St. Peter’s, Sydney, Australia
Above is the work of artists Marcelo Melo and Gustavo Amaral who created this epic street painting on the pavement of the Atlantica, one of the busiest avenues in the city of Rio, Brazil.
The impressive large piece depicts a sapling growing out of a tree which has been destroyed, highlighting how the Baha’i community of Iran continues to seek knowledge despite the Iranian government’s efforts to bar them from it.
Brooklyn based duo, ASVP began working together in 2007. Their art is a combination of multi-layered graphics with a mix of Eastern and Western imagery and bright, bold colours. They also use comic and pop culture graphics to satirise the advertising industry. For #NotACrime, the duo created a mural of a pencil with spikes along the shaft to depict the restriction of access to education for Baha’is in Iran.
Andrew Whispa and Wesley Pepper are the artsists behind the mural pictured above in Johannesburg, South Africa. The duo explained:
“In contemporary South Africa we are bombarded with so many social injustices and rhetoric that we seem to only pay attention to our own issues rather than the rest of the world. Our attention spans are minimal and we only pay attention to global issues if it’s blasted all over the mainstream media. It’s with this mindset that we drew a line across the street vendors and mainstream Johannesburg culture. The first stage of our campaign was to place ourselves at a busy road intersection at the epicenter of the media and film hub in Johannesburg. We strategically stood there with artworks almost forcing the public to pay attention. We followed up with a mural at a strategic intersection using the footage taken from the previous public art installation as reference. Lastly, we published zines that contains a mash of artwork and the campaigns hash tags in order to create a tangible legacy to the campaign.”
Previously, Dave the Chimp created a playful mural at the Village Underground street art wall on Holywell Lane in Shoreditch. The British artist and illustrator based in Berlin painted his depiction of human “beans” parading placards with positive slogans as a major contribution to the #NotACrime campaign focusing specifically on the persecution of Iran’s Baha’i religious minority.
Dave the Chimp’s work mixes cute and childlike styling with political messages. He began painting at least ten years ago and is influenced by skateboard culture and the urban landscape. His work can be identified by his positive messages and has appeared on the streets, in galleries and in publication across Europe.
Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.