Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: Stop Telling Women to Smile……..on Lenox Avenue in Harlem




artist tatyana fazlailzaheh-she is the first public artist in residence at nycchr.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs announced four new public artists-in-residence (PAIR). We spotted the work of one of them on Lenox Avenue at 125th Street in Harlem.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a Brooklyn-based street artist and painter whose street art project Stop Telling Women to Smile tackles gender-based street harassment. Her work can be found on walls from New York to Paris, Los Angeles to Mexico City, and right here…….

“This is about the power that art has in informing our lives and how it can stop us in our tracks. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh art has been so powerful in conveying human rights, dignity and respect for all people.” – NYCCHR Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis

Fazlalizadeh is no stranger to translating the plight of women into a creative form. In her series, When Women Disrupt, the artist collaborated with another artist and a filmmaker, traveling from California through Arizona and New Mexico to install small and large outdoor pieces challenging racism, sexism and xenophobia, using her public art as a tool to “disrupt white supremacy and the oppressive rhetoric that has been fueled by our current political climate.”

You might remember her installation, Not Going Anywhere, an indoor, wheat pasted installation of portraits of American artists and activists on view at BRIC Arts Media in 2017.

The current installation, Stop Telling Women to Smile on Lenox Avenue at 125th Street, is a series of portraits of women who each have a personal experience of harassment. This series will continue to grow, adding women with similar experiences, eventually traveling to many cities, adding many more women.

Two of the panels were marked up (August 5, 2019)

……and as the artist addresses issues of street harassment in her current installation, the discussions that evolve are not just verbal. As you can see (above and below) within a week of the public art appearing, comments were placed in marker on the posters. I say, let the marker stay, shinning a glaring light on the very point the artist is making. My friend, who feels deeply about the meaning of this installation, will be there in the morning with water and paper towels.

marker covers the installation, August 5, 2019


August 14, 2019 ~ 4 panels defaced in red

We are pleased to see that the vandalized posters were all replaced.

The original posters were so badly marked up. We found these new posters on view august 21, 2019

Once again, toward the end of February, 2020, vandalism appeared on each poster, front & back. Armed with cleaning supplies, the President of Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and Director of Public Art Initiative, Connie Lee put out a call to local artists and residents to help. Below ~ a few pictures of their effort.

Vandalized, front & back
All hands on deck Sunday, March 1, 2020
Connie Lee in pink hat handing out cleaning supplies
Wow ~ Job well done.

Thanks to all who participated in the cleanup. Job well done!

Thanking all who participated in the cleanup

Now in June and squarely in the middle of a pandemic, below ~ we found two missing posters and the rest of the posters vandalized on Sunday, June 28, 2020.

June 28, 2020

This project is supported by NYC Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR), New York City Cultural Affairs, and DOTArt, and appreciated by all the women who view it.

Follow the artist, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh on Twitter.