According to a study conducted by IBGE in 2010, more than 45 million people declared that they had some sort of disability. The same report also showed that in São Paulo, only 9% of sidewalks are wheelchair accessible. Many people with disabilities see themselves helpless when they face them in the city. Despite improvements being made, they are just not enough: People with disabilities don’t live in an adapted environment and have to face mobility problems all over the city.
To raise awareness on this issue — while taking into account the fact that Brazil’s largest city is a big graffiti canvas — NGO Movimento SuperAção started a colorful project – “Without Ramps, Sidewalks Are Walls” (“Sem Rampa, Calçada é Muro” in Portuguese). This cheeky use of mobility obstacles comes from the creative minds of agency Z+, which transformed sidewalks into mini-canvases for skilled graffiti artists and illustrators. For disabled people, a sidewalk without a ramp is indeed a wall, so why not paint them just like the rest of the graffiti-laden walls of São Paulo? With this intriguing campaign, the NGO wanted to call on the São Paulo Mayor’s Office to provide tangible solutions to this problem.
During this week’s #ThrowBrandThursday, we can admire the works of Brazilian graffiti artists such as Apolo Torres, Bruno Mazola, Cajú, Cazé Arte, Chivitz, Clara Leff, Curió O Bomba, Dinas Miguel, DLG, Eter, Feik, Felipe Palacio, Gui Galle, Guilherme Cabral, Ignoto, Leandro Bitencourt, Lena, Malu, Mazola Marcnou, Minhau, Nando Zenari, Negritoo, Ojos Blancos, Ota, Pardalone, Saci Candido, Tãozim Costa, Tarik, and Tito Ferrara, who all took upon themselves painting the sidewalks of the city with playful art.
The initiative brought to life a series of urban graffiti to a thing, to which normal person is almost oblivious, but which can stop people in wheelchairs from continuing in what could be a much simpler path. 25 works can still be seen on São Paulo’s sidewalks, which are required by law to have access ramps. They are located in neighborhoods such as Água Branca, Barra Funda, Bela Vista, Bexiga, Brooklin, Campo Belo, Chácara Santo Antônio, Itaquera, Jaraguá, Jardim Nakamura, Jardim Paulista, Jardim São Francisco, Lapa, Liberdade, Mooca, Pinheiros, Sumaré, Vila Alexandria, Vila Feminal, Vila Leopoldina and Vila São Francisco, as well as nearby cities of Embu das Artes and Diadema. The project also successfully landed in Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, and Recife.
“In a world with infinite information trying to get our attention, the project directs citizens’ awareness to the key issue of architectural accessibility in a way that is playful and artistic. Art is one of the most beautiful sources that enable human beings to get in touch with themselves. We are encouraging inclusion in a way that only art can offer. We must touch people’s hearts because reason alone has not been enough,” disclosed Billy Saga, Chairman of NGO Movimento SuperAção.
“The idea was based on the premise that a sidewalk is a wall for people who use wheelchairs. And graffiti art belongs on a wall. In that sense, we are not only highlighting the matter but also mapping points that must be adapted to ensure accessibility to everyone,” added Alexandre Vilela (a.k.a. Xã), the CCO at Z+.
To further support the initiative, the NGO created an Instagram account where users can admire all graffiti artworks. Plus, you can easily track down their locations. By encouraging fans to visit the actual locations, the NGO wants to get people engaged with the cause and take action by sharing the images accompanied by the #calçadaémuro hashtag.
The campaign received tremendous success: It resulted in more than R$ 8.2 million in spontaneous media coverage and more than 30 minutes of airtime in Brazil’s main broadcasters, which also got the authorities involved. Moreover, São Paulo Mayor’s Office come up with an important announcement: ‘We are committed to solving part of this problem, ensuring that disabled people get their rights respected.’ And that’s what we call a successful campaign.
Client: NGO Movimento SuperAção
Title: Calçada é Muro (Sidewalk Is Wall)
Chief Creative Officer (CCO): Alexandre Vilela (Xã)
Creative Director: Alexandre Vilela (Xã), Tarso Soares and Célio Salles
Creation: Alexandre “Boca” Lage, Melissa Potker, Ivan Montebello, Rodrigo Seixas and Gustavo Zotini
Projects: Rafael Coelho and Danilo Ferreira
Developers: Luiz Giusti and Hiago Lima
RTV Production: Diego Cagnani and Carol Reis
Graphics Production: Carlos Vieira
Art Buyer: Beatriz Rossi
Producer: Cromo Filmes
Director: Thiago Siqueira and Lucas Mello
Photography Director: Sendi Morais
Editors: Gabriela Dias and Francisco Filho
Audio Producer: Coletiva Produtora
Music: Coletiva Produtora
Photography: Genga Estúdio, Vitor Garcia, Rodrigo Seixas and Alexandre Lage
Approval: Billy Saga