Yaneth, 67 years old, chose the word “Vida” (=life).
She officially lives alone, but her home is always full of people, and full of life. She cooks for kids who woulnd’t eat otherwise, gives coffee and arepas to volonteers who come to the neighbourhood to help out, and cooks a lovely breakfast and lunch for me every day. I also wash at her place because there’s no running water in the house I’m staying in.
Although I’m told that the slum used to be much more lively before the crisis that forced 15% of Venezuela’s population to leave, it is still full of life, thanks to people like Yaneth who keep a smile on their faces and pans on the stove!
Emily, 13 years old, chose the word “Libertad” (=Freedom).
She told me that her word is a reference to the history of Venezuela. Her country use to be a place where huge numbers of West-coast Africans were shipped over by Europeans as from 1576 and were made slaves for centuries. Slavery was officially abolished in Venezuela in 1854.
Today many Venezuelans of African descent live in low income neighbourhoods like Petare.
With the Ambassador of France to Venezuela !
Today the ambassador Romain Nadal came to see my murals and meet the community. It was the first time in 6 years of ”Share The Word Project” that an ambassador has come to a slum to see my work. It means a lot to me because the whole point of my project is to make marginalised communities more visible, and I love it when people from outside the slum come into the slum. Art can break barriers and make people from seperate worlds meet.
Thank you to Romain Nadal for coming to Petare, South America’s largest slum. And thank you to Katy who I’m living with in the slum, and who’s helping me in every way possible.
“I choose the word “COMPROMISO” (=commitment).
I’m the headmistress of the neighbourhood’s primary school. Although we’ve been facing many difficulties, I’ve been committed to giving my pupils the best education possible.
I’ve been doing this for 23 years, and I’m not done yet. This is my commitment!”
– Solange –
Sheherazade chose the word “Unión”. I tried to make the wall very visible and attractive without making the word too visible. I wanted to make people have to stop for a second in order to read the word.
“I would like you to paint the word “Unión”. It’s what I like about this neighbourhood. We’ve been through a lot these last few years with the crisis, but people have stuck together in survival mode. We look after our neighbours, and help them out if they’re in need of water, food or some help with fixing something.”
– Sheherazade, 17 years old
This is my first mural in Venezuela!
Yoana chose the word “Memoria” (Memory). She told me this wall is for the people she has lost and in particular her father which was killed 6 years ago and the father of her children who got killed 6 months ago in the neighbourhood. She told me that everyone can relate because we have all lost people who we keep in our memories.
For me personally this wall is for my lovely, creative and stylish Wendy – who always chose the best patterns and colours – and who died before art became my job, but who’s in the back of my mind whenever I paint.