Amnesty International reveals first Brave Wall in Berlin
- March 1, 2021
With a Brave Wall in Berlin, Amnesty International is raising a public monument to the work of human rights defenders.The mural by artist Katerina Voronina is being created in cooperation with the URBAN NATION museum to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March 2021.
Brave Walls are public monuments dotted around the world that increase awareness of human rights defenders. In cooperation with the URBAN NATION Museum for Urban Contemporary Art, Amnesty International is now also paying visible tribute in Berlin to the work of these courageous campaigners. To mark this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March, the Moscow-born and Berlin-based artist Katerina Voronina created the Brave Wall on the theme of women’s rights and human rights defenders.
The Brave Walls project is a collaboration between Amnesty International and the global street art community. The first mural was created in London in 2017 – now Brave Walls can be found in over 20 countries. In the autumn of 2020 Amnesty International in Germany teamed up with the URBAN NATION museum to organise a competition. From the entries, the jury selected the motif by artist Katerina Voronina.
This project by women for women is particularly close to the heart of the Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International in Germany, Dr. Julia Duchrow: “More than 20 years after the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders was passed, and seven years after the UN resolution, female human rights defenders are still not adequately protected and their work still does not get the recognition it deserves. The monument is intended to draw more attention to the important work of these women, and above all to commemorate them.”
For her entry, Katerina Voronina drew her inspiration from the story of the human rights defender Marielle Franco who was murdered on 14 March 2018 in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro. The selected facade is located in the central Kreuzberg district of Berlin and will be completed on 8 March 2021.
“It’s time to stand up for the fact that every person on earth has equal rights regardless of gender, sexual orientation, nationality and religion. Marielle Franco impressed me to the core. She was a brave woman who was not afraid to go against the system and risk her life”, said Katerina Voronina on her involvement in the Brave Wall in Berlin.
Jan Sauerwald, executive director of the URBAN NATION museum, welcomed the collaboration: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Amnesty International on the joint creation of a Brave Wall. Amnesty does outstanding work to strengthen human rights, which is why we were delighted to lend our support to the project with our curatorial expertise and by providing a wall on one of the buildings belonging to Gewobag – a municipal housing company with a socially-orientated business model. In doing so we hope to generate the greatest attention to the issue of strengthening human rights worldwide.”
Background of the Brave Wall in Berlin
Katerina Voronina is known for striking illustrations of cityscapes, always featuring characters. Her works can be found on the walls of playgrounds and in cafes, and are published in magazines and books worldwide. Prior to coming to Berlin in 2018, she worked in Tel Aviv for two years.
Amnesty International is independent of governments, political parties, ideologies, economic interests and religions
Human rights organization. Amnesty has been campaigning, appeal letters and documentation for the victims of
Human rights abuses around the world. The organization has more than seven million supporters worldwide. 1977 received
Amnesty the Nobel Peace Prize.
URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART
As a collaborative partner, URBAN NATION was also involved in the selection process. The jury comprised representatives from URBAN NATION and Amnesty International as well as the journalist Miriam Davoudvandi.
Because female artists and their works are still underrepresented in the fields of contemporary and urban art, the URBAN NATION museum decided to address and change this in its overarching museum work as well as in the individual projects in which it is involved. The joint Brave Wall project with Amnesty therefore fits perfectly into the museum’s overall curatorial agenda.
Stand Up for the Brave campaign
The Brave Wall project is part of Amnesty International’s Stand Up for the Brave campaign (German: “Mut braucht Schutz”-Kampagne), which calls on government officials and other influential people in society to see that international agreements on the protection of human rights defenders are adhered to and implemented. People around the world are standing up for their rights and the rights of others each and every day. But those who speak out for human rights are increasingly being smeared, subject to surveillance, having their work closed down by repressive laws –and sometimes even being murdered. An ever-growing number of brave activists will not be frightened off. They dare to have a voice, and they are using it to call a stop to human rights violations. They are students, women, parents and many others who are taking a stand against torture, displacement, corruption, discrimination and other acts of wrongdoing.
(Museums management and choice of artist: Jan Sauerwald)
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