According to the latest census, published by IBGE in 2010, more than 45 million people stated that they had at least one type of disability. The report also showed that, in São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, only 9% of sidewalks are wheelchair-accessible. Since then, improvements have been made but people with physical disabilities do not yet live in an adapted society and face urban mobility problems on a daily basis. To bring awareness to this issue and based on the premise that a sidewalk without a ramp is a wall for wheelchair users and that walls are perfect for graffiti, NGO Movimento SuperAção started the project “Without Ramps, Sidewalks Are Walls” (“Sem Rampa, Calçada é Muro” in Portuguese), created by agency Z+, and calling on the São Paulo Mayor’s Office to provide solutions to this problem.
Inviting renowned 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, the initiative is bringing urban graffiti to obstacles that become walls for wheelchair users, seeking to encourage deep thought and to warn citizens. As of now, 25 works can 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 the nearby cities of Embu das Artes and Diadema. The project also 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," said 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 spread the word about the project, NGO Movimento SuperAção has an Instagram profile where all graffiti works can be seen, as well as their location (@CalcadaEMurohttps://www.instagram.com/calcadaemuro/). The goal is to get social media users to engage with the cause and help the action by sharing images and videos and even visiting these sites, adding the hashtag #calçadaémuro.
The strategy resulted in more than R$ 8.2 million in spontaneous media and more than 30 minutes of airtime in Brazil’s main broadcasters, getting the attention of authorities. In an announcement to the press, the São Paulo Mayor’s Office made a commitment to solve part of the problem, highlighting the approval of projects and funds that ensure the mobility rights of people with physical disabilities. The strategy already managed to transform graffiti works into access ramps in two streets.
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