[Photo Sparks] Art from the heart – a Street Art Festival for social change


PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In this photo essay, we cover the social change messages from the Street Art Festival of Yogyakarta, Indonesia!

In the earlier 70 posts, we brought you a wide range of creative photographs from an art fair, world music festival, painting fair, telecom expo, art museum, mobile showcase, math museum, social hackathon, bookstore, co-working space, sensorium, international design week, flower show, outdoor ads, startup roadshow, computer museum, startup T-shirts, business cards, art therapy, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, Vesak, jazz festival, modern art gallery, ecopreneurs, painter-poets, health activists, eNGOs and digital innovators.

My travels this month took me to Jogja (Yogyakarta) in Indonesia for three amazing events: the Jogja Jazz Festival, Street Art Festival and Biennale! Sculptures at the Street Art Festival as well as exhibits at the Biennale blended creativity and playfulness with messages of social and environmental awareness.

Logic and facts are some ways to induce change in people’s behaviour – but art can speak straight to the heart, and perhaps bring about changes in more profound ways. During times of alarming climate change and urban pollution, activists and social entrepreneurs are coming up with remarkably creative ways to bring about transformation – as these street sculptures beautifully illustrate.

Ode to the Unknown Streetcleaner: Cleaners and janitors work tirelessly at low wages, cleaning up the mess we all make in our cities. But how many of us know the names of the streetcleaners in our neighbourhoods?

Pot of Gold: Isn’t it sad how the people with the hardest jobs and the most amount of menial labour get paid the lowest? Will cycle-rickshaw drivers ever get a pot of gold for their hard work?

Would you marry a tree? Our environment is what gives us life, but we seem to value only human relationships. Would you show your love for the environment the way you show love for your spouse?

The voice of the individual citizen seems lost in today’s chaotic turbulent world. Can this large horn make a cyclist’s voice heard above the din of a modern city?

Road Safety 1: Drunk driving will get you nowhere, make sure you don’t end up like this.

Road Safety 2: Drunk driving is even more dangerous if you are on a two-wheeler, especially if you forget your helmet.

Start small and simple: There is no need to look for the perfect glue to hold things together when you can make do with a safety pin. Be frugal in your innovation and lifestyle.

Walk! Walking is good for you – the World Health Organisation recommends that you walk at least 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy. How many steps did you walk today?

When you build roads, don’t forget the pavements! Too many planners and builders these days pay attention only to the needs of car drivers, and end up neglecting or tripping up hapless pedestrians.

Make your voice heard: even the simplest form of expression like a pencil can be powerful no matter how hi-tech the repression.

Don’t let oil politics mess up our world, as this pencil made from oil barrels indicates.

Find alternatives to fossil fuels before it’s too late, we do not need to bathe in oil.

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.