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The owner of the craft shop welcomed her with a wide smile. She is a long-time client and a recognized artist.

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She responds to his warm greeting with a genuine smile and a slight grudge.

She still remembers the seller’s grimace of disapproval the first time, she entered the premises being a street brat and with just the right coins to buy her first spray

Graffiti artists had a very bad reputation at the time, people thought they were lazy teenagers prone to crime.  

Now things have changed.  

She presented a list to the seller with all the material she needed.

The United Nations had given her an important assignment.

She was the first female graffiti artist selected to do such important work.

She had competed against great artists to earn the job.

They were all men who still struggled to admit defeat. From time to time, she flipped through the group chat on her mobile waiting for some congratulations on her achievement. 

She shrugged. She was used to most people treating her as an intruder in a man’s world.

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Fortunately, there were exceptions to the rule, but it hadn’t been easy.

She was doubly rebellious.

For being a woman and for not having molded her style according to male perspectives.

Her graffiti was feminine.

Critics said they were even feminist, and she didn’t contradict them.

She came from a country where women were still second-class citizens despite being the backbone on which society stood. Her older brothers were able to go to college, but she wasn’t.

For her and her sisters, there was no money beyond school. They were expected to contribute to the family economy with domestic work that was considered “feminine”, to marry, to have children, preferably male, and to obey their husbands and God, who was undoubtedly a man.  

Her family would land next month in New York to attend the unveiling of the mural at the UN. Now they were proud of her. But there was a time when she was treated with contempt, and they were ashamed of her. 


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Always surrounded by boys, prowling the streets, stained with paint, and looking like a tomboy. 

A bitter smile poked over her face as she recalled those rebellious teenage years, her father’s occasional punches, some kicks from her siblings, and her mother’s pleas for her to behave like a decent girl. 

To end their suffering, she had left her house and her country.

She would have never been able to grant them with what they asked from her, it would have led her to commit suicide. 

Painting, expressing the language of her soul through drawings, claiming as legitimate supports the walls of the streets, buses, trains, telephone booths to transmit her voice to the world, constituted her breath of Life. 

The seller’s voice pulled her out of her thoughts. 

-I’m looking forward to seeing your next job at the UN. You’re amazing. 

She took the bag with all the materials and gave him a smile.