As some of you know, I'm a huge fan of crowd sourced projects. From graphic novels and games to social change, I love supporting 'indie' work.
About once a week Kickstarter sends out an e-mail entitled, "Projects We Love," highlighting some of the company's favorite ongoing projects, the latest of which I found fascinating. I've been doing a lot of research on Brazil's favelas, more specifically those around Rio de Janeiro, for a comic book I'm currently writing. Favelas have shown up in recent years as a stage for big budget action (the Call of Duty and Fast and Furious franchises both feature them) but there is a human aspect of these 'cities' that we less often see.
Enter Haas and Hahn of the Favela Painting project.
From their Kickstarter page:
Between 2005 and now, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro have provided the inspiration and locations for several public artworks that we painted together with local community members. Each new project being larger than the last, we now we aim to realize our ultimate dream; to plaster and paint an entire hillside favela. With your help we will return to Rio to create this community artwork of unprecedented scale: A monument that will radiate the pride and energy of the people who live in a community that they built with their own hands.
When we first visited the favelas in 2005, the way they are built and how they function socially struck us as very beautiful. At the same time they were generally perceived as grim, dangerous and dysfunctional.
Our project aims to provide an opportunity for people to transform their own neighborhood from a place seen as negative into a place that is able to communicate its creativity, beauty and innovation to the outside world through art.
While painting the houses brings a visual improvement, plastering them helps with controlling moisture, acoustics and temperature. Through training and hiring, jobs are created in places where opportunities are scarce. More people coming to see the artwork will bring new business and employment opportunities for locals.
Visual beautification, job creation and positive attention boost pride and self esteem and help bridge social gaps in a creative and artful manner. The projects create a voice for the inhabitants, influence public opinion and media, and can help to change perception and remove stigma.
Given the upheaval and change within Brazil in preparation for the coming World Cup and Summer Olympics, it's nice to see a shift in focus and such a drive for improvement at the lowest levels of society. Check out more pictures and see their plans, HERE.