This Painter Addresses Sexual Harassment In the Most Creative Way

Feminist, activist art collective The Guerrilla Girls recently celebrated its 30-year anniversary.

For the past three decades, they've set the art world ablaze by interjecting women's artwork in protests and legendary posters like, "Do Women Have to be Naked to Get into the Met Museum?" and "The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist."

Committed to overturning the overt sexism ingrained in world-renowned art institutions like the Whitney and Guggenheim, The Guerrilla Grils pioneered the modern day art movement to not only include women, but to also create more creative spaces where women artists can thrive and share their work.

One of these spaces is public street art.

Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh harnessed the powerful connection between public art and activism as the basis for her mural series, "Stop Telling Women To Smile." The series is comprised of oil paintings of portraits of women in public spaces with statements plastered above the images such as, "My Outfit is Not an Invitation," or "Women Do Not Owe You Their Time or Conversation."

Fazlalizadeh came up with the idea while working on a mural project in Philly, where she took note of her own experiences with sexual harassment and wondered how she could integrate her art into the picture.

"This is all about how women's bodies are consumed and are considered public property for display, comment and consumption," she told The New York Times.

Fazlalizadeh's goal is to encourage victims of gender-based street harassment to fight back. 

"Women need to start talking about their daily moments because it’s the smaller stuff that affects the larger things, like rape, domestic violence, harassment in the workplace," she explained.

The first set of portraits debuted in her neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvestant in Brooklyn, N.Y., and have since expanded to cities around the globe, with some posters translated into other languages as well. Check out the photos from the project's Twitter account of fans responding to the portraits around the world. 

Learn more about how artist Laura Owens forged a career in the competitive art world and the motivation behind her paintings here. Watch her talk about the importance of owning your work as an artist in the video above.  

NEXT: "SLUT: The Play" Sparks Conversation About Sexism and Sexual Violence »

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Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images, Twitter