With the approach of the Brazil World Cup and associated television coverage, barely a day goes by without a documentary or magazine feature on the Favela’s. Ramshackle buildings built with corrugated metal and rock-hard resolve. Sprawling, real life houses of cards balanced precariously and domino-like in and around the urban parts of many of Brazil’s major cities. Eleven million people (6%) of Brazil’s population live in these slums – that’s more than the entire population of Denmark. With large areas controlled by gangs, poverty rife and clean water difficult to come by, the Favela communities are certainly deserving of a little colour in their lives.
This is where the ‘Painting a Favela’ project comes in. Started in 2005 by Dutch duo Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn they describe the project as:
“The main idea is for the project to function as a means of urban beautification and to act as a catalyst for positive social change, whilst offering the inhabitants an opportunity to earn an education and income. “
Using Kickstarter, they reached their minimum target of $100,000 dollars in October 2013, allowing them to return to the Favelas in Rio de Janeiro to paint more areas. Their ultimate aim, they say, is to raise $1 million in order to paint every home in every Favela in Rio. A huge target but they are 10% of the way there and with the eyes of the world on Rio during the 2014 World Cup, awareness of this fantastic idea can only grow.
Santa Teresa with Christ the Redeemer in the background
Rocinha – the largest hill Favela in Rio
Boy with Kite in 2006
The design for the first project was chosen together with local people. It depicts a boy playing with a kite, a symbol for every child in Brazil’s favela’s.
Rio Cruzeiro in 2008 – Vila Cruzeiro
This project covered a complete street in Vila Cruzeiro. Giant slabs of concrete protected the hill from mudslides during the rainy season and – resembling a river of concrete, inspired Haas & Hahn to paint it. The Japanese design, complete with Koi carp, was made by master tattoo artist Rob Admiraal. It took more than 8 months to complete the 7000 square meter design and can even be seen on Google earth!
Praca Cantao from 2010 in Santa Marta
A group of 25 local youths were trained and hired and in just a little over a month the team painted a complete square in Santa Marta, completely transforming the image of the favela – it’s now a famous tourist attraction!