by Jamilah King

We’ve already shown some love to Oakland-based graffiti artist Estria, but this latest project deserves some more shine. A few months back, the Estria Foundation embarked on a project to create ten collaborative murals in ten different cities across the globe. The Water Writes is pretty self-explanatory: it’s a visual storytelling project in which graffiti writers explore the current worldwide water crisis that’s principally impacting communities of color and the Global South.

One mural has already been finished in Los Angeles, and I got to see another one that’s already in the works in Oakland (see some of those photos below). Other confirmed U.S. sites include Honolulu and Arizona, and plans are in the works to do other murals in the Philippines, Palestine, El Salvador and Colombia.

But what’s really neat about the project? It’s a collaborative, youth-led effort, through and through. In Oakland, the foundation partnered with local youth-centered organizations to host a series of workshops exploring young peoples’ relationship to water. The experiences from those workshops eventually became the storyboard for the final project. The goal is explained best on the foundation’s website: “Each person paint[s] a part of their own story with their own hands.”

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