Five Children From Five Continents: Famed Brazilian Muralist Kobra Paints a Message of Coexistence

Quarantine and social distancing are bringing out some real gems. And while we understand that for street artists, the lockdown has been particularly bad. However, Eduardo Kobra — the 44-year-old Brazilian muralist who is known around the world for his brightly colored, kaleidoscopic murals, took to the canvas for a change to create yet another mural that will be talked about.

Why is Kobra so famous? Among other things, he has set the Guinness World Record, twice, for largest spray-paint mural: first with an acclaimed piece painted by him and his team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, then with an even bigger work in his native Sao Paulo the following year.

“My work is in the streets. I’m a painter who depends on the street. I paint murals. So this has all been a big change for me. I’ve had to think about how to transform my work… rethink my creative process,” Kobra told AFP in an interview in Itu, the small southeastern city where he is riding out the pandemic.

He was “paralyzed” at first, he said. But like all brilliant artists, he managed to think outside the box. His new message is of coexistence and therefore, he made a mural to bring people hope during the crisis, and raise money for those suffering from it along the way. From his confinement, Kobra painted a mini-mural called “Coexistence” on canvas. It depicts five children from five continents praying behind face masks printed with the symbols of five of the world’s major religions: Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism.

Even though small by Kobra’s standards, it is still pretty big, clearly it is taller than he is. But staying true to his art, he dreams of painting a full-scale version somewhere in the world when the pandemic is under control.

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What does he plan to do with this painting? He wants to raffle off numbered prints of the painting to “bidders” who donate badly needed food and supplies for the poor in Sao Paulo, where stay-at-home measures have left many struggling to eat.

“If we’re scared staying in our homes, just imagine what it’s like for people who are living on the street,” he said, clad head to toe in black that contrasted with the vibrant colors of his painting.

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