As a young woman interested in art, Panmela Castro was drawn to graffiti and its power to convey a message. As a street graffiti artist, she employs this passion to raise awareness about women’s rights and draw attention to the pervasiveness of gender-based violence (GBV).
The Maria da Penha Law on Domestic Violence against Women, which grants legal protection for victims and potential victims of GBV, was enacted in Brazil in 2006. Through a network of women graffiti artists, Panmela raised awareness about the law in the favelas of Rio, where access to information is often limited. By using her art to teach women and girls about women’s rights, and forming a strong consciousness about women’s worth, Panmela enabled and empowered those who were previously too afraid to speak up to share their stories. In 2011, Panmela founded Rede Nami, an urban art network of female artists that addresses gender inequality through public art, graffiti and workshops in Rio.