To celebrate International Women's Day (Sunday 8 March) the world’s largest all female street art and graffiti festival proved that street art isn’t just a mans game by giving Leake Street Tunnel a new face.
Femme Fierce: Reloaded saw over 150 of the biggest names in street art from around the globe add colour to the renowned ‘Banksy tunnel’ to highlight the problems facing being a girl in today’s world, and to celebrate womanhood.
Part of an annual festival organised by Ayaan of Street Art Agency, the takeover saw talent sprayed across the walls of Leake Street tunnel in the form of impressive public art murals...
Artists including Greece’s Simoni Fontana, Swedish-Chilean Amara Por Dios and France’s Ashes57 were among the participants, creating works in their own signature styles.
The event was open to all, exuding a real sense of inclusion and a feeling of positive urban activism. Music, laughter and chatter created a festival atmosphere which all could enjoy, including children - some tried their own hand at street art.
It is precisely this kind of art that we need more of; here there are no barriers between artist and viewer, you can meet the creator as they create…and you needn’t feel like you don’t belong, no establishment will find your gaze unworthy here.
The central message was expressed clearly in paint:
Help us to ensure that all girls can live safe from violence, go to school, marry who they want, when they want, and have their voices heard.
Other statistics revealed startling facts: 65,000 girls are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (F.G.M) per year in the UK. One guy read aloud the words ‘in the UK’ with shock. These issues are real, and events like these are exactly what we need to keep highlighting them in order to make change happen.
As I left, high on fumes and inspired about the possibilities of using art to unite people and change the future of girls for the better, to truly 'Make It Happen', a little girl sat excitedly on her mums shoulders started repeating ‘you are amazing’ like a broken record to the artists. I couldn’t help but agree.