Words from Panmela Castro (Anarkia)
as told to Matthew J
On the evening of April 14 2010, Christ the Redeemer statue was vandalized by some writers from the pichação movement in Carioca, a metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro. Pichação, is the uniquely Brazilian style of art which evolved from graffiti is considered a culture all of it own.
The taggers used their art as a way to protest some of the recent killings and injustices which have taken place in Rio; one of them a case surrounding the mysterious death of an engineer named Patricia, which remains unsolved.
Due to the high cost of tag removal services most people do not paint over the stones, thus making it the preferred canvas for pichação writers. So it’s no coincidence that The Christ statue has been the main "dream" of all taggers in Rio because of it’s stone composition. During the time of this "vandalism", the Statue’s security cameras were off and access to the monument was restricted due to massive flooding , which resulted in hundreds of deaths people living in the nearby area. No sufficient reason has been given for the cameras being turned off nor any reason for the lack of security at the site.
This is not the first time the statue was targeted by writers. Recently, two taggers from other states came to Rio with the aim of making pichação art. One was killed and while the other "disappeared".
In Rio, many young people are killed each year not only as a result of pichação and but also day to day problems affecting their daily lives (violence, police misconduct, and poverty) . In turn, when dealing with these young writers, the police need to apply the actual law, rather than torturing, humiliating, or even killing them . Being denied their basic human rights the youth are given no opportunity to function in our society. For many pichação is their only means to express their frustrations and hope for society.
Now with the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Summer games respectively coming to Brazil, the government is desperately trying to solve these problems before the eyes of the world arrive [in Brazil]. This situation proves another example of just how disorganized and fragile security is within Rio.
Government officials are investing the case and promising to punish these "vandals". Along with that, an anonymous group of entrepreneurs are offering $5,000,00 reward to anybody who has information about these "criminals". We expect the law to do its job properly and allow these writers to pay their debt to society in a fair and legal way. A way without any violence or deaths occurring.
— Panmela Castro (Anarkia)