The UNHATE Foundation supports the aim of the Untouchables campaign to raise awareness on the right to childhood and the factors that threaten it.
Seven photographs depict the main issues threatening the basic dignity of children around the world: paedophilia inside religious walls, sexual tourism, the civil war in Syria, liberal circulation of firearms, human organ trafficking, obesity, and nuclear pollution.
The artwork recreates the image of the cross and juxtaposes both the victim and the abuser. A threatening-looking adult (a priest, a soldier, a nuclear engineer, etc.) takes the shape of a cross and the victim is the child crucified on his back. The controversial choice of the cross was intended to depict both the pain carried by the victims and the factors affecting their childhood. The word Untouchables refers to those who must be protected (the children) and those who remain unprosecuted (the abusers).
The Untouchables campaign seeks to outrage the audience. Our goal is to incite a reaction and provoke the viewers into becoming campaigners, using the images in ways that help promote children’s rights.
The strategy for the campaign was shaped around one idea: to recall the ancestral instinct to protect children, the “users” of the images must be engaged as if they had a personal responsibility. To achieve this level of engagement we decided that the campaign should be “no-brand”, free of all branded references: what matters is the message, not who promotes it.
The campaign, conceived and developed by Erik Ravelo, Fabrica’s Creative Director, was posted on his personal social network profiles – including Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr – and produced uncountable shares. Afterwards Facebook declared the campaign “offensive”, banned the posts and blocked Ravelo’s page for months. The images were also displayed on Benetton’s videowalls in major cities around the world, including Milan, Barcelona, Moscow, London, Paris, Munich and Tianjin.
By the time Facebook removed its ban, Untouchables had gone viral, generating uncountable shares, three exhibitions, hundreds of editorials, and a huge global conversation about children’s rights.