RIO DE JANEIRO – Pakistani Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai became a graffiti artist on Wednesday after painting a portrait of Marielle Franco, the city councilwoman gunned down in Rio de Janeiro in March.
The bisexual Afro-Brazilian and outspoken leftist was slain along with her driver in downtown Rio de Janeiro, after attending a political event.
Malala, the youngest person to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, spray painted the depiction of Franco on wall in a Rio de Janeiro favela (shantytown) with the help of a stencil created by artist Simone Siss.
Yousafzai, who turns 21 on Thursday, visited the favela to learn about a project headed by graffiti artist Panmela Cruz, better known by her artistic name, Anarkia Boladona.
The artist won the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award in 2010, the same award that was presented to Malala three years later, when the two first met.
Panmela is the founder of Red Nami, an NGO that seeks to empower and educate women on their rights through street art and other projects.
On Monday, Malala announced during an event in Sao Paulo that she would soon launch a “personal” project in Brazil to promote girls’ education, although she did not offer any further details.
According to Malala, who was shot by the Taliban when she was 15 for defending women’s right to education, some 1.5 million Brazilian women are denied that right in the South American nation.