Omar Rashid directed the feature that tells the making of the street-art work dedicated to human rights

In 2018, during the Festival of Human Rights, on the wall of a public housing block in Florence appeared a quote by Nelson Mandela. The 126 sm quote didn’t go unnoticed. Passers-by started to look ever more intently to what the little person up high on the  suspended scaffolding was doing. The young street-artist Jorit began to cover the quote with more paint to eventually create a giant portrait of the anti-apartheid revolutionary. The title of the work is ‘The apartment block of human rights‘.

One year later, we can admire this performance and reflect on the reactions of those who witnessed it first-hand thanks to director Omar Rashid. His documentary ‘Nelson: Jorit and the apartment block of human rights‘, illustrates both the artists’ point of view and that of the public.

The reactions of people, from residents of the condominium complex to passers-by of any age, are indeed the focus of the documentary.

As the work progresses and Mandela’s features begin to get sharper and clearer, over the 12 days it took Jorit to complete it, people get more and more involved.

Originally from Naples, 28-year-old Jorit explained: “I really liked the reaction of the people, I didn’t expect it. At first, they were a bit colder, I started writing a text, they were lost. Then they realized that it was a face and who it was. They changed their minds, it was a crescendo, with increasing appreciation.” The public also interpreted the fact that the work appeared on a public housing block as part of the work’s meaning: not only against racism but a struggle for rights.

The giant portraits on the facades of the buildings of the street artist Jorit have been around the world. He made them in his Naples where the faces of Che Guevara, Pasolini, Maradona, Ilaria Cucchi but also in New York stand out. They are the symbol, each in its own way, of revolution, struggle, resistance.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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