Street Illusions in São Paulo

It the past few years the structures of many poor favelas in Brazil have been used by many artists as a canvas for their imagination and inspiration. Jungle’s favourite so far is JR’s eyes in the favelas (see below), or at least it was until we saw this new project in São Paulo.

Recently Boa Mistura, an art collective from Madrid, chose São Paulo as a background for it’s ideas. With the support of the Embassy of Spain in Brazil they chose Brasilândia as the background of a very interesting intervention. Using extreme colours and playing with perspective they brought positive messages to the poor community like “love”, “pride” and “beauty”. The kids from Brasilândia got involved in the project painting the walls and streets to make the messages transform their lives.


  1. fabiano valentino

    concordo em parte ,as vezes olhamos para uma favela e nao fazemos nada ,uns criticam outros a espanca ,lhe roupam o pouco q tem ,mas nao perguntam o q ela precisam…essas açoes nos mostra q precisam vim pessoas de outros paises fazerem o q podemos fazer q,nossos (governantes)podem ,deveriam fazer…as cores sumiram sim com o lodo ,com a umidade ,,mas o momente de alegria para eles na quele unico dia,,pode ter muda alguem

  2. Emilene

    Better than the images are the comments of Vilmar!

  3. There have been many projects where artists, (interior) designers and every other class of creatives attempted to respond to the idyosincratic condition of the periphery in Brazilian urban centres, namely favelas. But before we rush into praising these initiatives we must answer a couple of simple questions: what is the immediate impact? What is the long-term effect of such actions? Who will benefit from it?

    I personally have serious doubts about creatives using the favela as a canvas for they objectify the disenfranchisement of the poor. The way most of these projects are conceived do not succeed in their attempt to reinstate dignity to people from such communities not least because the view that poverty as an undignifying condition is the product of a perverse meritocratic ethos founded on bourgeoise ideology but because acting in such way tends to patronise people rather than provide them with a real means to improve their situation.

    In any way these are solutions to the real struggles of people living in favelas. The lively colours, and the messages inscribed therein, will be pretty soon consumed by the humid rot and when that happens the community will have but a vague memory of the upper-middle class people who were knocking about trying to ‘do something for them’. Surely enough the ‘inspiring’ images will have a far greater impact on artists’ own portfolios and websites that, to their luck, are not subject to the effects of the tropical climate.

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