Through the Write for Rights campaign, organized every year in acknowledgement of Human Rights Day on December 10, hundreds of thousands of people around the world send a message to someone they've never met. Letter writing has always been at the heart of Amnesty International's human rights campaigning. With 54 years of human rights activism on our side, we see that the collective action of our members really have the power to change lives.
This year, Art For Amnesty is doing something different, we are amplifying Write for Rights with art. On December 12th, a historic event will take place: ART FOR RIGHTS. Through a partnership with New Orleans artist, Brandan "BMike" Odums, we are collaborating with 12 artists to highlight the stories of 12 international cases through art and creative installations. The murals created by these 12 artists will call attention to cases of solitary confinement, torture, forced marriage, forced eviction, imprisonment for a miscarriage, LGBTI rights, death penalty, enforced disappearance and prisoners of conscience.The goals remain the same: to inspire participants to write letters and take action.
Art can be a cultural tool during times of unrest to expose truths, helping to humanize social struggle and actualize grievances and fears. Often, art inspires us to take action. We've chosen to hold the inaugural event in New Orleans, the prison capital of the world. In New Orleans, Albert Woodfox, one of the 12 cases, has been held in solitary confinement for over 40 years. Art for Rights will be located in StudioBe, a 30,000 square foot warehouse, where over 5,000 people will join Art For Amnesty for a one-day, free, pop-up art event, with the unveiling of the work by these amazing artists. Art for Rights will also feature local Creole food and brass band music for that special New Orleans flair.
Alexandre Keto is a graffiti artist from São Paulo, Brazil. He is a traveling artist whose work is inspired by the adversities of the communities he visits. His artwork is representative of diversity and struggle.
Brian "BK" Kirhagis, born in Baltimore, is a self-taught artist. He uses acrylic paint to create visually complex pieces of art that serve to raise awareness on current events and social issues. BK's powerful pieces has earned him Baltimore's 2014 "Outstanding Artist of The Year" award of Baltimore, Maryland.
Brandan "BMike" Odums is an artist who hails from New Orleans. He is a visual artist and filmmaker who has garnered recognition for his activist graffiti work. BMike is the artist behind the successful series "Project BE" and "#ExhibitBe."
Douglas Miles is a painter, printmaker, and photographer. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and currently resides in San Carlos Apache-Akimel O'odham, Arizona. Douglas is the founder of Apache Skateboards and the Apache Skate Team.
Raised in Chicago, Hebru Brantley's artwork has been exhibited in many major cities around the world. His unique artwork uses youthful characters to tell captivating stories. He uses various mediums such as spray paint, oil, acrylic, watercolor, as well as some unconventional like coffee and tea.
Jessica "J Hand" Strahan is a visual artist from New Orleans. She creates captivating portraits using acrylic or oil. Jessica is inspired by the local jazz scene of her native New Orleans, creating portraits as large as murals and as small as hanging frames in homes around the world.
Jerome Lagarrigue is an artist raised in Paris and currently resides in Brooklyn. He is an illustrator. A sought-after artist, Jerome has been commissioned to work with influencers such as George Lucas and Maya Angelou.
Katie Yamasaki is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a muralist, children's book author/illustrator and teacher. Her artwork aims to serve as a platform for communication to help bring about change on social issues.
Kristy Sandoval is an artist raised in Pacoima, California and currently resides in North East Valley, California. She is a muralist and educator. Kristy works with several education programs and non-profit organizations as a means to introduce art to the youth.
Ricky Lee Gordon, who paints under the pseudonym Freddy Sam, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and currently resides in Cape Town. He is known for creating large-scale murals that shed light on social issues. Ricky is co-founder of Colour Ikamva, an art outreach program.
Baz Dreisinger is a professor, journalist, and justice advocate. She has a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University with a focus on American and African-American studies. Baz is the founder of the Prison-to-College Pipeline program. She is also the author of Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture and of the forthcoming book Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World.
Hank Willis Thomas
Hank Willis Thomas was born and raised in New Jersey. He is an award winning visual artist who works with sculptures, paintings, and photography to name a few. Hank's work, infused with race and pop-culture, has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world.
Hank Willis Thomas
Jesse Krimes was born in Philiadelphia. He is a drawer and painter who garnered considerable attention for artwork he created during his 70-month prison term using bedsheets as his canvas. Jesse's art is complex and challenges the perception of reality.
Rontherin is a native of New Orleans. Introduced to the arts at a very young age, Rontherin credits his parents for his artistic abilities. He is an artistically diverse talent working with multiple mediums including sculpture, murals, and graphic design.
People are reporting how many letters they wrote. We now have of 65,00055,000 letters. Help us reach our goal, report back now!
Questions? Contact Amnesty International USA's Individuals at Risk Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.633.4256.
Yes, I will help change lives during Write for Rights, December 4-18, 2015.
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