Anti-corruption street art: lend me your wall

Transparency International’s chapter in the Dominican Republic, Participación Ciudadana, has taken its fight to the streets of the capital city – or rather the city’s street walls – as a form of non-violent protest against corruption, particularly the kind that goes unpunished.

Left: This wall carries the message ‘corruption causes a high cost of living’. Right: A mural calling on Cotui, a city in the Dominican Republic, to ‘wake up’.

The “Lend me your wall” (Préstame tu pared) campaign, which also focuses on human rights, is calling on young people in the city to use their creative flair and do the painting, while members of the public who own property are encouraged to donate a wall of their house or office.

Young budding street artists prepare one of the donated walls in Santo Domingo.

Participación Ciudadana hopes this expressive form of participation will bring citizens face-to-face with issues around corruption and help promote the wisdom of icons who have spoken out against it.

An international icon for human rights activism, the late Nelson Mandela, was the focal point of one of the murals.

So far, 20 walls have been painted in the capital Santo Domingo and there’s no sign of things slowing down.

The creative director of the campaign, Juanjo Marte, standing alongside a mural of local journalist Orlando Martinez Howley, an outspoken government critic who was assassinated in 1975. Today Howley is a symbol of freedom of expression in the Dominican Republic.

Nowadays we focus too much on virtual walls, like on Facebook. We want to start a movement using real walls so the message can’t get lost. We want street art to become viral. Now we’ve got many walls, but are lacking artists to paint them all!

This mural features the words of the late Nirvana singer, Kurt Cobain: ‘The duty of youth is to challenge corruption’.

After the chapter got the go-ahead for a few initial walls to be painted, young volunteers were taught the basics of street art and got to work with materials we gave them. We also encouraged the use of recycled materials where possible.

This mural pays tribute to Eugenio María de Hostos, a Puerto Rican intellectual, philosopher, educator, sociologist and writer, credited with writing Dominican Republic’s draft law for public education. The message here is:
‘It will never be a duty to sacrifice collective rights’.

The owner of each wall comes up with the idea they’d like to see depicted, and the team of young artists then transform that idea into a striking mural.

This mural tells passers-by: ‘Unequal pay is an abuse’.

To see more of the murals, click here.

Carousel image: Copyright, Participación Ciudadana

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