LATINO VOICES

How A Brazilian Graffiti Artist Is Empowering Women Around The World

"Art is how we can be influenced and be an influence."
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2014
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2014

Panmela Castro is speaking out through her art to combat Brazil's high rates of violence against women

Based in Rio de Janeiro, the feminist graffiti artist and activist uses her skills to create murals addressing the country’s problem with domestic violence, gender inequality and the mistreatment of women.

"We face different situations that we are conditioned to obey and that most of the time are oppressive and/or prejudiced," she told The Huffington Post via email. "This is why we have to change what it means to be a woman in the world."

Being a woman in Brazil can come with its dangers. According to the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, a woman is assaulted in Sao Paulo every 15 seconds. Earlier this year, President Dilma Rousseff signed a law that created stricter sentences for murders connected to domestic violence, citing the startling statistic that 15 women are killed every day in Brazil, many because of domestic violence. 

Castro hopes to spark a broader conversation about gender and feminism through her work, as well as through an organization she started called Rede Nami, which holds workshops throughout Brazil and around the world to help empower women using art.

"In the workshops we have a safe space to create a work that gives a voice to women who in other situations would never talk about that part of their lives," she told HuffPost. "In this way, graffiti is a tool for communication."

Though she is based in Brazil, Castro has done street art around the world, using her work to teach others that art can make an impact.

"In the arts, there is not the wrong or the right, good or bad, nice or ugly," she said. "It is a space for experimentation, freedom, and thought. Art is how we can be influenced and be an influence."

Check out more of Castro's work below.

  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2013
    Panmela Castro
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2013
    Panmela Castro
  • New York City, 2015
    Panmela Castro
  • Linares, Spain, 2012
    Panmela Castro
  • Santiago, Chile, 2012
    Panmela Castro
  • Mangaratiba, Brazil, 2013
    Panmela Castro
  • Madison, Wisconsin, 2012
    Panmela Castro

H/T Mitú

Also on HuffPost:

PHOTO GALLERY
25 Street Artists' Works From Around The World
CONVERSATIONS