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A Voz da Rua / The Street Speaks

| Social Work | Exhibition Development | Field Research & Conceptualization | Branding & Visual Identity | Print Media | Photography | Post-Production Design |

This project was based on research from a 2015 social movement against a new constitutional amendment in Brazil that would reduce the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16 years of age. Critics argued that lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility would not in fact increase security amongst citizens as the government suggested, but rather increase the number of adolescents entering the criminal justice system, particularly those of African descent and those from poor socioeconomic backgrounds, who are frequently targeted and overrepresented by a corrupt justice system.


This project aims to create an experience of social semiotics, bringing light to one of the biggest social issues of our time: homeless youth and their role in the criminal justice system. One goal of the project was to reveal invisible social realities and discuss a global issue that transcends the barriers of ideological indulgence and places on stage the actors of this tragic concert: The Street Children.


The research took over six months to collect from visits to a favela in Rio de Janeiro and volunteering with AMAR - To Love, an ONG bringing in and welcoming homeless children. The ONG introduced dynamic activities in a space where the children could feel safe and escape the problems that came with living on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. The content generated during this period consisted of photographs, stories, and audio recordings of my time living alongside and interacting with the children.


The ultimate goal of the project was to design a solution that gave the homeless youth an opportunity to share their perspectives, share our research, and raise awareness through photography and multi-sensory resources with the aim of generating increased social awareness and demanding action from future lawmakers.


Throughout the development and conceptualization of the design, I opted to create a traveling exhibit that could easily be transported and posted to several university campuses around the city of Rio de Janeiro. The internal design comprises four unique niches demonstrating different interpretations of the same reality.


The second panel is a collage incorporating news articles and pictures from local media sources to portray how street children are viewed and treated by society.


The last piece showcases some of the content created together during site visits. It displays drawings accompanied by recordings of audio responses to the question “what is your dream?”


The first layout introduces the theme and context through portraits of the children. The photos here are modified through a photocopying technique to symbolize the erasure of the subjects’ identities.


The third section demystifies the "thief" archetype that the media famously portrays. This layout reveals another side of their reality that is neglected by society: the playful spirit and humanity of these children.

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