It all started when Dutch artists Jeroen Hoolhaas and Dre Urhahn (better known as Haas & Haan) set out to film a 2005 hip hop documentary in the favelas of Rio de Janiero and Sao Paolo for MTV. Completely struck by the extreme poverty and poor living conditions of the favelas, the two became totally inspired to bring bright, outrageous works of art to unexpected places.
The first project, “Boy with a Kite,” was created in 2006 and is a 150 square meter mural depicting one of Brazil’s favorite pastimes – kite flying. The second, “Rio Cruzeiro,” was painted on a concrete structure built to protect the hillside from mudslides. This mural is of a river, featuring large cartoon-like waves and fishes swimming downstream.
Local paint and art stores supply the artists with materials, and local children help paint. The artists explain that they want to use art as a tool to inspire others. The theme of transformation is apparent – the ultimate goal of transforming the slums into a cool place that residents feel proud to live in.
Be sure to check out Haas and Haan’s latest project Santa Marta on their website: http://www.favelapainting.com/