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Artist: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Teaching Artist: Patricia A. Barrera

Assistant: James Dunn

Site: Edison-Fareira High School


About the Project

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is a visual artist and native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Fazlalizadeh, who currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, after years in Philadelphia, is a traditional oil painter. Her painting work crosses genres from muralist to freelance illustrator. She exhibits her paintings in galleries across the country, while completing illustration commissions for magazines, films, and books. Her work focuses on portraiture with social/political themes. Fazlalizadeh’s current project, Stop Telling Women to Smile, is a public art series that addresses gender based street harassment. The work consists of drawn portraits of women composed with captions that speak directly to harassers. She is currently producing the work in cities across the country.

The goal of this project is to help students at Edison-Fareira High School understand the steps in creating a social campaign that addresses an issue that is important to them. Art can be a critical tool in creating social change, and we would like guide them in using their art as a group to tackle the issue of bullying. Creating a campaign involves many steps. First, the students must decide on what issue is important to them as a whole. Art campaigns are most successful when the artist is passionate about the topic they are addressing. They should relate to it personally. Bullying is a huge problem in most schools, and after talking with the students at Edison-Fareira, it is the subject they feel most close to and want to be the subject of their campaign. From here, the students created words and phrases that reflect their thoughts on bullying. Similar to the posters from Fazlalizadeh’s Stop Telling Women to Smile series, where the portraits of women are coupled with words that speak to their experiences with street harassment. The student’s created text that speaks to their experiences with bullying and/or their statements about it. These phrases are accompanied by images that illustrate the text. After the students completed their individual images, we edited together as a group. Does each poster contribute to the overall message of the campaign? What idea do they want to express as a whole? After reviewing, the students refined their work, chose certain words or phrases from the images that best represent the focus of their campaign, and those will be the leading words among the campaign. Publicizing the message is an essential part of creating a campaign. The work should create awareness, spark conversation, and be used as a visual tool for pushing a movement. The work the students created were printed as posters, flyers, and a zine that can easily be spread throughout their school and community.


At the end of the project we noticed that students gained confidence in speaking up about an issue that directly affects them and their peers. They now understand their power in driving conversations that lead to change. They understand the steps to creating a campaign, working together as a group for one cause, and are now able to produce similar work in the future.

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