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Panmela Castro

Human Rights Award, 2017

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Focus Areas

Gender Equality & Women's Rights

Panmela Castro-Anarkia is a 28-year-old multi-media artist from Brazil who uses graffiti and street art to promote social change and awareness. Currently, Panmela is the art coordinator for Artefeito, an organization she co-founded that carries out social projects using art as an instrument of cultural transformation. One of Artefeito’ s most recognized projects is Graffiteiras, a project that links graffiti and urban culture to combating violence against women. Through this project, Artefeito carried out a campaign to educate disadvantaged women about the recently passed Maria da Penha Law on Domestic and Family Violence against Women, a law named after a woman who was so severely beaten by her husband that she was paralyzed for life.

To further this project, Panmela ventured into the slums of Rio de Janeiro to create murals that promote awareness about the existence of the Maria da Penha Law and to educate women about their rights under the new legislation. Unable to ignore or avoid the messages the murals portrayed about the importance of Maria da Penha and this law, Panmela uses her art to extend a lifeline to victims or witnesses that were previously too afraid to speak up. Maria da Penha herself has been featured in some of Panmela’ s work.

Panmela believes that she can make the world a better place by using graffiti to portray messages of positive social change. In addition to studying at the prestigious Federal University Art School in Rio de Janeiro, Panmela’ s socially-conscious art has earned her a place as one of the most important figures in the Brazilian graffiti movement. She has also paved the way for women graffiti artists in Brazil. Today, Panmela travels throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa to promote Artefeito’ s mission and to share her vision through lectures, exhibits, and workshops hosted by the Untied Nations, the OSA Art Forum, the German Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, and the La Familia Ayara organization. She has received numerous awards and recognition including the Hutúz Award, and continues to be active through her participation in public events, workshops, and social projects.