Student blog of the Stanford University Urban Studies Department

Faces on Fences


In 2011, Mentalgassi, an anonymous German street art collective, collaborated with Amnesty International to bring to light 2011’s most pressing human rights abuse cases around the world. Called “Making the Invisible Visible,” Mentalgassi created images of six individuals on pieces of fences. Staring straight at the fences, one doesn’t fully see the picture. One must stare at an extreme angle for the individuals’ faces to come into view. Individuals made visible include Fatima Hussein Badi—sentenced to death after an unfair trial, Natalia Estemirova—a murdered Russian human rights activist whose murderer has not yet been punished, Jabbar Savalan—imprisoned in Azerbaijan pacifist anti-government activism, which includes Facebook commentary. 

Click the link to watch the art process.


In 2011, after the infamous execution of Troy Davis, the Huffington Post posthumously acknowledged Mentalgassi’s attention to the Troy Davis case through working with Amnesty International.

Mentalgassi is one of the many examples of how street art is an important aspect of city culture and how this public art can be public dissent for against government or corporate policies, laws, and convictions that seem unjust, unfair and/or inhumane.


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