Painted favela outside Rio de Janeiro

When I saw this painted favela in Brazil I went through this sequence: 1. Wow, beautiful. 2. How is papering over poverty and structural inequity with a rainbow going to help? 3. I would actually feel much happier living in Santa Marta after the paint job, and maybe it would attract money into the community.

The project was spearheaded by Jeroen Koolhaas (son of Rem Koolhaas) and Dre Urhahn, both artists in the Netherlands. They began in 2005 with the idea of community art projects as a form of community development and they worked on murals, which then morphed into painting whole developments.  The “before” photo is below. See also the official website at Favela Painting as well as Plataforma Arquitectura. They’re also on Facebook.


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4 Responses to “Painted favela outside Rio de Janeiro”

  1. Erik Says:

    Sure, it looks good now, and maybe it works there. But I wonder how many brightly and happily painted concrete housing projects I’ve seen around europe where the colours just seem to accentuate the misery of he area, like scornful laughter.

  2. LB Says:

    I know. That was my thought too. It doesn’t have to be either/or, though, I guess. Structural change or nothing. Hard to say if the more attractive environment provides more energy to fight the other thing or not.

  3. Kenon Says:

    Tirana has already gone down this path and it has started to age badly.

    Certainly no one in a favela will pay to upkeep (garish) Promethean art that they have had foisted upon them. For something more organic look towards the pastels of Salvador de Bahia.

  4. LB Says:

    @Kenon Agreed. And check this:
    “Colorful Camouflage: Painting Buildings Brushes Problems Under The Rug”

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