Artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn just finished a huge public-art project in–and on–a favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janiero. Aiming to help favela dwellers shift perception of their home, they’ve incorporated local people in the conception and creation of the piece:
In order for the lives of people living in the favelas to improve, the popular perception of their neighborhoods must improve. The core of our idea is to help this happen by painting an entire hillside favela. Not in a uniform color, but with each house colored according to an elaborate plan so that the hillside will depict a huge image visible from prominent places in the city center. The exterior of every house will first be improved – exposed brick and raw concrete will be covered by a smooth plaster surface, enhancing its look and value.
The work will be planned and executed in full collaboration with the inhabitants of the favela.. a mix of political statement, social project and art. On one hand turning hundreds of slum dwellings into houses and on the other hand giving the creators, the favelados, a chance to show the rest of the world a different, positive side of their world. Since we want them to adopt the project and see it as their own it is important that all major decisions regarding image, design and colors are made by the favelados themselves.