The role of the arts in advancing social change is undeniable. Art can help us breathe life into the worlds we collectively envision and mobilise for. Art can heal, elate, prompt reflection, connection and catharsis.
When it comes to drug policy reform and harm reduction, art can lower barriers to engage in dialogue, chip away at stigma and do away with the alienating jargon.
Over the last 8 years of Support. Don’t Punish mobilising, we have observed, first-hand, the power of the arts in motion.
Local partners worldwide have utilised concerts, exhibitions, graffiti, songwriting and street theatre to build bridges and advance sustainable alternatives to the ‘war on drugs’. (Make sure to check past events to get some inspiration!)
Taking cues from the campaign’s local partners, in December 2020 we collaborated with five artists from the harm reduction community to produce beautiful campaign designs that we are *so* happy to finally share with you.
Check them out on the campaign’s Redbubble store or download the designs for your own use. (The campaign does not make profit from the products bought from Redbubble, in hopes that campaign ‘swag’ is as available as possible 💚)
Artists & Designs
Cassicobra is a Brazilian artist who worked in the country’s public health sector for 10 years in projects related to the arts and harm reduction; working with neurodivergent people and people who use drugs. He’s still involved in the anti-mental-asylum and harm reduction movements, as a partner of NGOs and collectives.
‘Regardless of our differences, we all have a right to life, to respect, to care and to have our basic needs met. People who use drugs are discriminated against, when they deserve and need to be embraced.’
I’m an illustrator and graphic designer. For the last five years or so, I’ve worked and illustrated themes related to drug policy.
It brings me joy to express myself through drawings, adding colour to the long road of harm reduction, including collaborating
with organisations that fight for a fairer, less stigmatising world. I’ve found the most marvellous inspiration in shapes, colours and sensations from this realm, and translate them into her work as an artist.
‘I believe we all deserve the same opportunities, support and care, regardless of our decisions or how we decide to lead our lives. Substances are part of the world, whether we accept them or not. Whether we decide to address them or not.’
I’ve graffitied for 20 years, an activist for the rights of women, generally in the streets of Barcelona and in many countries.
In 2018, I started working with Metzineres as a volunteer, to support women and people of dissident genders who were in drug use, and mostly street-based. Metzineres is a harm reduction space for women and people of dissident genders in Barcelona. I started there by giving graffiti workshops and working in the design of their campaigns. Today, I’m passionate about my work.
‘Each person has specific needs. Society rejects some of these needs and criminalises lifestyles and livelihoods. Daily marginalisation and exclusion is, in and of itself, an unbearable punishment. I think mutual support, understanding, the power to speak freely on issues that concern us, produce incredible results. Punishment and prohibition create obstacles for us to thrive and be cared for.’
I am in my last year of Anthropology studies and I focus on cultural management, multimedia communication and social networks. Currently I’m involved in the Coordinating Team of Latinoamérica por una Política Sensata de Drogas, and I am part of the graphic design team of Chacruna.net. During 2019, I created ‘Las Históricas’, a feminist communication platform where we share through various channels (website, podcast, social networks) critical information with a gender and human rights perspective.
‘As an activist on the issue of psychoactive substances and harm reduction, my participation within the Support, Don’t Punish project represents in a certain way an emblem of my ideals and my work within the fight for the human rights of people who use drugs.’
I am a visual artist, but I’m also interested in different forms of art. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ceramics in the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Whilst studying, I had an opportunity to participate in international symposiums and different workshops where I got the chance to meet great people and artists.
Besides my artistic side, I am the Executive Director of harm reduction organisation ‘Young Wave’, based in Lithuania. We provide harm reduction services and tools at music festivals and city raves. We also provide online consultations all year round and participate in international projects and campaigns.
‘I believe, with all my heart, that ‘Support. Don’t Punish’ is the approach that can solve a lot of problems, the perspective for a better change.’