Meet Eduardo Kobra, a Brazilian street artist and muralist with the record for the largest graffiti mural in the world. As one of the world's most powerful leading artists, Kobra defines what sustainable art is through each piece he creates. Promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of Climate Action and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions through his artwork, he often paints topics of social inequalities, human rights issues and global justice. As a kaleidoscopic artist, each piece he creates tells a unique story, showcasing his talent as well as his sustainable mindset.

Displayed is an imaged version of Eduardo Kobra’s record-setting mural, We Are All One in Rio de Janeiro. Photo courtesy of Free Walker Tours.

We Are All One, one of the most influential murals, is an artwork created for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. As the world’s largest graffiti mural standing at 15 meters high and 170 meters long, Kobra’s We Are All One evokes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions through Indigenous rights in the painting's key message with traditional clothing and headdress’ being illustrated. Having this representation further pushes the need for inclusivity and reformation of Indigenous rights and cultural acceptance, respect. “These are the Indigenous people of the world,” said Kobra on the Rio 2016 official website on his mural. “The idea behind this graffiti artwork is that we are all one. We’re living through a very confusing time with a lot of conflicts. I wanted to show that everyone is united; we are all connected.”

Kobra is also renowned for his influential artwork advocating United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for Climate Action, notably his celebrated piece named For The Planet, which was prominently showcased at the 2022 UN General Assembly. “The message is about the planet we hand over to our next generations. How are we taking care of our planet? Because the future is now. The future has already begun, and we are all responsible for it,” said Kobra in an interview with United Nations. This piece, along with We Are All One, is just the surface of his advocations for sustainability in his art.  

Displayed is an imaged version of Eduardo Kobra’s painting, Coexistence–mixed media on canvas, 46x86 in. Photo courtesy of Eden Gallery.

According to The Borneo Post in May of 2020, Kobra said that he “found inspiration staying at home and is using it to help those hit by the pandemic,” hence the emphasized beauty in his piece, Coexistence. Staying true to his traditional style, his artwork portrays five children from five continents praying behind face masks printed with the symbols of the world's major religions: Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism. This piece promotes the joining together of people regardless of religious differences, showing Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

The lockdown period of COVID-19 was without a doubt one of the most challenging times for many, and the beauty in Kobra’s art shined even brighter because of his resilience and persistence through tougher times. From his confinement, Kobra painted and shared this mini-mural on canvas as opposed to on the street, continuing to promote the Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions goal through the sharing of multiple religions without prejudice or judgement, just sheer existence.

Displayed is an imaged version of Eduardo Kobra’s painting, Hands–mixed media on canvas, 81x62 in. Image courtesy of Eden Gallery.

Kobra shared with Museum Week Magazine that he “navigates the universe of street art…Everything [he] learnt and developed was done intuitively, as a self-taught, on the outskirts of São Paulo.” Born in Brazil in 1976, Kobra began his career in 1987 at 11 years old, in his hometown of São Paulo. Since then, he has painted over 3,000 murals on five different continents. Nowadays, he works with a team of artists who paint between two and four murals each month. To this day, Kobra continues to live and work in his hometown of São Paulo.

With such a distinctive style and unique takes on the world around him, Kobra proves himself constantly with every artwork–past, present and future.

To view more of his artworks, you can visit Arrested Motion for an art focus on Kobra.

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