New York City, NY

Incredible New York City murals and stories behind them

The Nerdy Me

Street art and murals on the buildings were once a form of rebellion and a way for marginalized groups to have a say about important issues.

Some call it a form of vandalism, some call it freedom of expression.

Either way, street art as such has managed to gain a spot in the movie and entertainment industry as well as important various non-profit organizations who use street murals to highlight social causes or bring attention to the injustices all around the country.

Picture Credit: Just_ a_Spectator from Street Art for Mankind

One of such non-profit organizations in New York is Street Art for Mankind. This organization decided to raise awareness about important issues such as child labor, slavery and human trafficking by getting together local street artists, spokespersons of local governments and corporate sponsors.

Two of their biggest projects – Freedom Murals and ILO100 Murals – are incredible examples of how street art in New York Streets can spread an important message.

Freedom Murals

In partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, the International Labour Organization, Delta Airlines and Andaz Hotels to name a few, Street Art for Mankind decided to bring awareness to the public about child trafficking.

There are six murals in total located in lower Manhattan as a part of this NYC Art Walk Against Child Trafficking. Each mural showcases stories of 8 survivors of child trafficking that display different ways children are being exploited each day all around the world.

Picture Credit: Just_ a_Spectator from Street Art for Mankind

Participating artists include AEC Interesni Kazki, Btoy, Jo di Bona, JDL, KinMx, Loic Ercolessi and Victor Ash.

If you want to see the whole NYC Art Walk Against Child Trafficking, you can do so yourself as a self-guided tour.

The first wall is located at 25 Bridge Street – 212 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10004. It should take you around 45 minutes to see all 8 murals.

ILO100 Murals

For this exposition, Street Art for Mankind partnered with the International Labour Organization (ILO) which was founded as part of the Treaty of Versailles and was essential in ending World War I.

ILO has worked with various governments, employers and workers to improve labor standards and create better opportunities through employment. Their work is based on their main belief, mission which states that “lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice”.

Picture Credit: Just_ a_Spectator from Street Art for Mankind

In total there are five ILO100 murals all around the United Nations Headquarters, between East 42nd and East 48th street, in midtown Manhattan which you can see to this day.

The murals cover such employment and labor issues such as child and forced labor, gender inequality at work, globalization and even climate change.

Participating artists include Clandestinos, Faith 47, Jorge Gerada, Mr Cenz and Victor Ash.

Here is a short video about ILO100 murals from NowThis Daily:

You can visit and see all five murals on a short 30-minute self-guided walk. The murals are located near well-known Manhattan landmarks such as Grand Central Terminal, as well as the Ugandan and Indian Embassies.

The first wall is located at the Westin Grand Central Hotel – 212 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

There is also an app created called ‘Behind the Wall’ which you can download for free and follow along each of these murals’ routes.

The app will also give you a bit of background information about each mural. All you will need to do is to scan the mural with your phone.

You can download the app from the official website of Street Art for Mankind.

Have you seen any of these street art murals? Which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

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