Favela Painting

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Favela Painting
Favela Painting Logo.jpg
Type of projectCommunity Artwork
LocationRio de Janeiro, Brazil
FundingDonations and Grants

Favela Painting is the name of a series of community artwork in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil painted by Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn (known as Haas&Hahn)[1][2] with the help of local people.[3] Firmeza Foundation, an organization based in Netherlands runs the project.[4] The project is mainly funded by grants and donations[5] and the main idea is to collaborate with the local people to create community artwork.[6]

Three artworks have been completed under Favela Painting as of 2013. The first artwork in the project, "Boy with Kite" was completed in 2006[7] followed by the completion of the second artwork in 2008 – both painted in Vila Cruzeiro, a slum in Rio de Janeiro. In 2010, the duo painted murals over 7,000 square meters[8] (75,000 sq. ft.) of public square in the Santa Marta.[9][10] The ultimate goal of the artists is to paint an entire hillside favela in the center of Rio.[11][12] Haas&Hahn have plans to return to Brazil to do further work under the Favela Painting project.[13]


We wanted to do something that would give them an opportunity to become painters and that would call attention to the outside world to their situation.

Urhahn told in an Interview with CNN[2]

In 2005, Jeroen Koolhaas met Dre Urhahn to make a film on the hip hop culture of favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While they were shooting the movie, they were inspired by the creativity and optimism of the people.[14][15] On the other hand, they were shocked by the conditions of the favelas.[16] In 2006, they started developing ideas for creating community-driven art projects in Brazil that could "transform the living environment and instill pride in the people."[17] They started working with the local youth on the first painting, Boy with Kite, in 2007. Working with the youth there involved training and community immersion.

After the completion of the first painting Boy with Kite, they returned to the Netherlands to auction artworks related to the Favela Painting project. Using the funds collected in the auction, they returned to Rio de Janeiro to work on another similar community driven art project. Initially, the project was partly funded by the Dutch Ministry of Culture.[2][14][18]


Boy with Kite[edit]

Boy with Kite is the first painting under the Favela Painting project. It is a 150m2 mural that is spread over three buildings facing a football field in Vila Cruzeiro.[19] The artist duo started working on Boy with Kite in 2007 as a "symbol for the children of favela".[14] The painting took three months to finish and was painted, together with local youth, who were attracted from the Soldados Nunca Mais program of the Ibiss foundation.[2]

Rio Cruzeiro[edit]

Haas&Hahn returned to Vila Cruzeiro in 2007 to work on another artwork, Rio Cruzeiro, under the Favela Painting project. This artwork included painting a Japanese Style River in a street. Rob Admiraal, a Dutch tattoo artist accompanied the duo in this project and provided the design for the mural. It is spread over an area of 2000m2 and covers a containment wall, a public stairway, a path and a cement wall. Rio Cruzeiro depicts huge colored fish swimming in a blue river.[19] It was completed in over a year.

Praça Cantão[edit]

In 2010, Haas&Hahn started designing models for painting a slum. After completing a model, they began work in Santa Marta the same year.[20] In a time of one month, they recruited and trained 25 people to help them paint a square that spawned over 7000 square meter at the bottom of the favela.[5] This included thirty-four surrounding houses,[21] streets, and the interior of a popular samba studio.[22][23] They started painting the slum in early 2010 and the project was completed the same year.

Praça Cantão, 2011


Favela Painting has received positive feedback from the media and general public.[4][24][25][26][27] These artworks have been called "points of pride"[28] in the community throughout Rio.[29][30] ‘Rio Cruzeiro’ and Praça Cantão were covered by news agencies such as Fox News, Al Jazeera, The Daily Telegraph,[31] and The Rio Times.[32] In Brazil, the painting attracted reporters from several newspapers and TV stations.[33][34] The New York Times Style Magazine also wrote an article about Favela Painting project.[13] Shasta Darlington with CNN wrote, "While crime hasn't abated, the project put Vila Cruzeiro on the map for something other than drug trafficking."[2]

Artwork related to Favela Painting project has been displayed at several exhibitions around the world. Kallenbach Gallery at Westergas in Amsterdam showed the Favela Painting Expo in December 2010.[35] In 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture featured artwork related to Favela Painting project.[36]

In 2011, the Herald Sun News paper of Australia called the Praça Cantão one of the most colorful places in the world.[37] The image of Praça Cantão was used as the flagship image for a show "Design with the Other 90%: Cities," the second in a series of themed exhibitions by Cooper-Hewitt at the United Nations Headquarters in 2011.[38]

The painted slum of Santa Marta has also been used as a set in the American movie Fast Five. Favela Painting project was featured in a 2012 book titled “Design Like You Give a Damn [2]: Building Change from the Ground Up” among other projects such as Make It Right Foundation New Orleans by Brad Pitt and High Line in New York City.[39]


Year Exhibition Location Notes
2007 Favela Painting Auction Amsterdam At IJ-toren
Favela Painting Photo Exhibit Shenzhen HK/SZ-biennale
Boy with Kite Exhibit Amsterdam At Studio Apart
Play: Experience the Adventure of Our Cities Manchester
2009 Artworks and Sketches 'O Morro' Amsterdam
Live Painting (JK) Amsterdam At Sid Lee Collective Space
Video Installation Amsterdam At Art Market
2010 GGG Exhibit Miami Art Basel
2011 Design with the Other 90%: Cities United Nations HQ, NYC Organized by Cooper-Hewitt[38]
Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale Shenzhen & Hong Kong 3 Painted Rooms with Lightboxes
Painting Urbanism New York at Storefront for Art and Architecture
'Three the Hard way' Berlin At Galerie Schau Fenster

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Praça Cantão: Favela Painting Set to Span Entire Neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro". Urban Ghost Media. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Darlington, Shasta. "Rio slum transformed into canvas bursting with color". CNN. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Favela Painting". Guerrilla Innovation. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Favela Painting". Imagine For People. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Praça Cantão, A New Favela Painting In Rio De Janeiro". Wooster Collective. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Favela Painting". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Art Project at Hannekes Boom". ELLE Magazine. Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Favela Painting". Clear Village. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Praça Cantão, Favela Painting Project". Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Favela Painting, Rio De Janeiro". Unurth Street Art. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Gunshots and Brush Strokes – Favela Painting". Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Favela Painting". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  13. ^ a b Leon, Sarah. "Favela Fab". The New York Times Style Magazine. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  14. ^ a b c "8 Years of Haas&Hahn (Raw Version)". Vimeo. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Favela Painting". Fortune Sound Club. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  16. ^ "Favela Painting". Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  17. ^ "Favela Painting: Giving Pride to Brazil's Poor". The Coolist. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  18. ^ "Favela Painting Projects in Rio de Janeiro". Sinab Design. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  19. ^ a b Frayssinet, Fabiana. "BRAZIL: Bringing the Multicoloured Soul of the Favela to Life". Inter Press Service Brazil. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Favela Painting". Lushlee. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  21. ^ "Praça Cantão, Favela Painting". Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  22. ^ "'Favela Painting' transforma praça no Morro Dona Marta, na zona sul do Rio". Estadao. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  23. ^ "The Favela Painting Project Transforms a Community". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  24. ^ Garcia, Cathy Rose A. "Companies Under Pressure to Innovate or Die". Korea Times. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  25. ^ Etherton, Caitlin. "What A Little Paint Can Do for Brazil's Favelas". Intelligent Travel Blog - National Geographic. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  26. ^ "The Favela Painting Project". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  27. ^ "Favela Painting Haas&Hahn". arch2O. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  28. ^ "Favela Painting - The Project". Papa Issue. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  29. ^ "Painting an entire favela?". Favelado. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  30. ^ "Favela Painting". Sabine Brosche. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  31. ^ "The Favela Painting project in Santa Marta favela in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  32. ^ "Coral Helps Dutch Artists Paint Favela". The Rio Times. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  33. ^ "Favela Painting". Dillinger Magazine. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  34. ^ "World's Most Colorful Places". news.com.au. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  35. ^ "Favela Painting In A'Dam". Cultural Exchange. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  36. ^ "Urbanism\Architecture Bi-City Biennale*Shenzhen". E-Flux. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  37. ^ "World's Most Colorful Places". Herald Sun Australia. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  38. ^ a b Ozler, Levant. "Design with the Other 90 Percent: Cities". Dexinger. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  39. ^ Viladas, Pilar. "Plan of Action". The New York Times Style Magazine. Retrieved 22 August 2013.