The FIFA World Cup now has its first viral image. And no, it is not one that host-nation Brazil would be proud of. Battling economic slowdown and public outrage, Brazil's 'sporting image' has taken a whack online with artist Paulo Ito's mural summing up the mood in the land of the samba.
Known long for its carnivals, sprawling beaches and love for soccer, Brazil's current state is far from the party mood despite staging the world's biggest sporting extravaganza. In fact, it is so pitiable that Ito has managed to encapsulate the reality in one single artwork - a child sitting on a table with only a football to 'savour'. His tears seem to have struck a chord with the world - 50,000plus shares and likes on Facebook and an additional 4,000 retweets on the micro-blogging website Twitter!
While Ito says he never meant to target the Brazilian government through his creative work, the artist may well have forced authorities to take a reality-check. And it is not the first time Ito has given an insight into the actual state of the Brazilian society. His works have previously targeted deforestation of the Amazon, safety of women and other such evils. The latest example of Ito's creativity though will reverberate through the corridors of the most stubborn political set-up in his country.
Brazil has spent close to 6.5 billion pounds on the World Cup - starting June 12. While the expenditure may be staggering on its own, it becomes even more astounding because of the shocking state of public expenditure in the country. Repeated protests against poverty, corruption and lacking public services have drilled a hole in the sturdy image that Brazil was trying to project by hosting the World Cup. In a land where soccer is revered, artists like Ito are leading an ever-increasing number of people who want work before play, personal respect before sporting glory.