The Brazilian World Cup Mural That's Going Viral

  • Jake O'Donnell

Although Brazil has seen sharp economic growth over the last 30 years, it’s not like everyone in the country can now afford a second home. Between twenty and thirty percent of the population still live under the poverty line.

That means between 40 and 60 million people can barely afford food, and close to 9% live on less than $2.00 a day.

Street artist Paulo Ito wanted to make a statement about his country’s ongoing struggle to feed its people, despite allocating somewhere between $10 and $20 billion to host the 2014 World Cup. So he painted a child crying at a dinner table, with a soccer ball on his plate, on a school door in the Pompeia district of São Paulo.

[Slate]“The truth is there is so much wrong in Brazil that it is difficult to know where to start,” he explained via Facebook chat. “I didn’t mean [to say] nobody is doing anything against poverty,” he said of the mural. “But we need to show the world or ourselves that the situation is still not good.”

“Two years ago I painted in an [abandoned] building and I was thinking to paint something about poverty, but when I went inside I changed my mind,” Ito told me. “They already live what I was supposed to paint.” Instead, he said, in those cases he painted what the people asked him for: football team symbols, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Ito’s issue seems to be with the fact that people are forgetting the poor in his country (which might explain all the recent rioting, looting, and hardcore police crackdown).

The image was first posted May 12th on a popular Brazilian Facebook page, where it now has a combined 40,000 likes and shares.

Photo via TV Revolta