World Cup 2014: Brazil street artist Paulo Ito taps into country's anger with mural of starving child eating a football
Paulo Ito's painting of a starving child with only a football to eat has gone viral
Wednesday 21 May 2014
This image of a starving child with nothing to eat but a football has tapped into Brazil’s complex relationship with the approaching World Cup.
Paulo Ito, a street artist, painted the mural on a school in Sao Paulo on 10 May and a photo of the artwork has since been shared more than 50,000 times on Facebook alone.
The city has been at the centre of repeated and sometimes violent protests against the government’s £6.5 billion spending on the World Cup when the money is so badly needed elsewhere.
“People already have the feeling and that image condensed this feeling,” he told slate.com.
“The truth is there is so much wrong in Brazil that it is difficult to know where to start,” he said.
“I didn't mean [to say] nobody is doing anything against poverty but we need to show the world or ourselves that the situation is still not good.”
Mass street demonstrations against poverty, political corruption, underfunded public services and Brazil’s creaking urban infrastructure started last June during the Confederations Cup.
And the World Cup has galvanised Brazilians’ weariness over the failures in parts of their society, boiling over into violent clashes with the police at protests in Sao Paulo.
Thousands of teenagers from working-class suburbs have been invading middle-class shopping centres in so-called “rolezinhos”, sparking a heavy-handed response from police and legal attempts by malls to stop them entering.
As the discontent continued, the government was planning to launch a feel-good publicity campaign to convince locals of the benefits of hosting the World Cup.
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