Artist Turns Hateful Graffiti Into Beautiful Designs

From hate to humor

Jan 19, 2018

Ibo Omari, a Lebanese and Turkish street artist, neighborhood activist, and graffiti supplies shopkeeper living in Berlin has made it his mission to replace the incredibly offensive swastika symbols around the city with cheerful, sweet works of art, bound to make anyone stop and smile.

Omari was tired of seeing hateful messages littered around Berlin, so he came up with an idea to rid the city of them completely.

Little by little, the artist and his team is reclaiming the maimed urban spaces and responding to intolerance and hatred with love.

Along with several other graffiti artists and neighborhood kids, his #PaintBack campaign turns swastikas into owls, flowers, four leaf clovers, mosquitos, hearts, Rubik's Cubes, cats, and more.

Omari has also built a template that shows other artists or do-gooders how to transform the hateful symbol into eye catching designs that everyone can enjoy.

This way, if they see an opportunity to create a humorous drawing, they’ll feel empowered to take on the project.

The artist also hosts workshops in his graffiti supplies store so that artists can practice the transformations themselves.

To promote their project, artists tag the designs with #PaintBack.

Visitors can see the designs all over the city on bridge underpasses, the sides of buildings, brick walls, park structures, abandoned structures, and more.

Since the group began their initiative, they say fewer neo-Nazi symbols have appeared around the city, and they won’t stop their efforts to raise awareness for tolerance and peace until every last swastika is gone.


 

A post shared by Mayra Felício (@mayrafelicio_) onAug 16, 2017 at 4:40am PDT

 

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A post shared by Jade-Yasmin Taenzler (@jayatae) onSep 3, 2016 at 10:31am PDT


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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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