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Teen with vitiligo has a mural done in her honor

Brazilian muralist draws inspiration for his latest mural from a local teen with vitiligo. (Photo: Alexandre Keto)

Alexandre Keto is using his art to empower women and help the world see beauty in different lights.

The 30-year-old Brazilian muralist uses art as a tool for social action through large-scale projects. In one of his most recent pieces, he drew inspiration from Roberta Avelino, a teenager with vitiligo.

“In my last tour in Salvador, Brazil, I was walking in the streets when I unexpectedly saw this girl who was walking so confidently,” he shares with Yahoo Lifestyle.

Keto approached Roberta, 17, who has the chronic skin condition that causes skin to lose its pigmentation, and explained to her details about his work and if they could collaborate.

“She loved the idea and accepted being my inspiration to this mural. It wasn’t planned at all, it happened organically,” he says. “Roberta felt very important and was thrilled by the mural.”

Roberta is a high school student. Her passion is her theater and dance classes. She shares with Yahoo Lifestyle that she is very happy that she collaborated with Keto.

“It’s exciting to see myself in this mural,” she says. “Lack of information about my condition makes people discriminate against me sometimes, but this mural is showing the beauty of vitiligo in art. This is a good way of teaching people to understand diversity. My family and I loved it so much.”

She also opened up about her journey with vitiligo.

“I work on my self-steam daily and I try to not see it as a sickness. I’m good with myself and try to be patient with people’s curiosity,” she says.

Keto has been an artist for as long as he can remember. However, in recent years he’s been using his talent as a catalyst for change. “My work is a result of my own African research,” he says. “As Brazilians, we need to learn and to know more about our African roots that unfortunately are denied by our society.”

 Keto hopes his murals spark conversations. “I believe art has a power to connect people across the globe and spread information, this is the main reason why I paint on streets, to make the art more democratic and accessible to people,” he says.

On what the main message he wants others to get from his work is, he adds, “We are living in a world where there is so much hate, we need to express and spread love and respect.”

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