RVA: Street Art for Mankind

By Didier Allouch, host of Rendez-vous d'Amérique

My dear francophiles, francovorous and francophageous friends, in the new episode of Rendez-vous d’Amérique, you will see a story about a very special exhibition in New York. This exhibition is not in a museum or in one of the beautiful and very trendy Manhattan galleries, this exhibition is just in the center of the world, in the walls of the United Nations building...

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Let’s add that it’s not an exhibition, it’s a demonstration that art can have a social and political conscience. The association Street Art For Mankind is showing 17 works from artists from all over the world, for the second consecutive year in the UN, 17 reproductions of murals dispatched in New York streets,17 works with one theme and one goal: to denounce and fight child slavery.

To be honest, I was a bit perplexed when I heard about this exhibit. I wasn’t sure exactly how street art could play any part in such an important cause. But, with my research, I realized that street art is probably the most subversive and socially efficient form of art actually.

Before it was torn down, the Berlin Wall was filled with drawing and painting, all messages of hope and freedom: that was street art.

The unforgettable portrait of Obama over the word HOPE drawn by Sheppard Fairey, the image that some people say helped him win the election in 2008: that was street art.

The powerful images that the mysterious Banksy has drawn, this little girl offering a flower to a soldier, for example: that was street art.

The more I was working on this story, the more my doubts went away. Street art is a powerful form of expression and a very efficient one, by its own nature. The art is in the street, accessible to everyone. The message is here for everyone.

That’s why what the people from Street Art For Mankind do is more than important. They understand the power of an art form like no other and they’re using it in the best way possible.
This exhibit at the UN, these works of art that each tell the story of a destroyed childhood in the center of the world, brings the absolute certitude that every day, every diplomat, ambassador, governor, every one of those who can make a change, will all see these artistic statements and maybe something will happen, maybe something will change, maybe some lives would be saved. If that happens, it may also be in part thanks to street art!

To further explore the Street Art for Mankind exhibit at the United Nations, tune into this week’s episode of Rendez-vous d’Amérique – the French language TV show on TV5MONDE USA that covers cultural Francophone events throughout the United States.

Click here for more information about the next episode, which also features the French language films that are in contention for 2019 Academy Award Nominations – From Québec, Chien de Garde by Sophie Dupuis, from Belgium, Girl by Lukas Dhont, and from France, La Douleur by Emmanuel Finkiel.

From street art’s raw impact, to cinema’s intriguing glamour, and beyond - Rendez-vous d'Amérique invites you to explore Francophone culture in America. Your host on this cultural experience is Didier Allouch - reporter, cinephile, and a familiar face on the red carpet. Click here to learn how you can subscribe to TV5MONDE and watch Rendez-vous d'Amérique!