By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Travessias 2 – Arte Contemporânea na Maré (Crossing 2 – Contemporary Art in Maré) opened this Saturday, April 14th, in the Complexo da Maré favela in Rio’s North Zone. The exhibit aims to continue to redefine the area’s presence in the city while also giving its residents greater access to art.
The second edition of the exhibit brings the works of ten major Brazilian artists: Carlos Vergara, Arjan Martins, Daniel Senise, Cadu, Ernesto Neto, Lucas Bambozzi, Luiza Baldan, Marcelo Silveira, Vik Muniz and Ratão Diniz to the Galpão Bela Maré gallery space located in Complexo da Maré until June 23rd.
“The importance of the project as a whole is to put Complexo da Maré on the map of the visual arts in Rio,” Galpão Bela Maré coordinator Fabiana Gomes told The Rio Times.
Complexo da Maré’s image to many outsiders has in the past been that of a community riddled with violence and ruled by drug traffickers. Home to over 130,000 residents, the complex which consists of sixteen favelas grouped together, was occupied by pacification forces in late 2011.
However, before the military police moved into the region an organization entitled Observatório de Favelas had been growing in the communities for years. Founded in 2001, the Observatório de Favelas works to evaluate public policies in an attempt to balance social inequalities.
The organization also organizes programs which aide and enrich the lives of community residents, including the Travessia exhibit, Bela Maré gallery and Imagens do Povo. Launched in 2004 by photographer João Roberto Ripper, Imagens do Povo offers training courses for photographers and photography educators and an image bank for its photographers to license their images to publications.
The program’s goal is to not only teach photographic techniques but to also capture daily life in the favelas through the eyes of the people who call them home.
Ratão Diniz is one notable graduate of the Imagens do Povo program. Featured in the Travessia 2 exhibit, Diniz was born and raised in Complexo da Maré. He has received international attention for his work documenting Rio’s favelas and the graffiti scene in the city.
“Lately all of my attention has been on the state imposed removal of popular spaces for the Olympics and the World Cup,” Diniz told The Rio Times. “[Those events] will just be here for 30 to 60 days and during the removals the stories of the people aren’t being taking into consideration.”
“I have been photographing these changes in Providência and Manguinhos through the people’s perspective. I portray it all in the way we see it as residents, not in the way the TV shows do but from our point of view.”
When asked about Travessias 2, Diniz stated that the public response has been great, adding, “For me, seeing my work along side such great artists is really inspiring.”
Diniz’s work is sharing gallery space with the likes of Vik Muniz, a Brazilian artist made internationally famous through the 2010 documentary Waste Land and well-known painters Carlos Vergara, Daniel Senise and Arjan Martins.
Also featured are the experimental sculptures of Cadu, Marcelo Silveira and Ernesto Neto. Artist Luiza Baldan contributes images that deal with daily life, transitions, and memories, and artist Lucas Bambozzi adds poetics to politics in his video installation additions to the exhibit.
“Travessias 2 – Arte Contemporânea na Maré is an exhibition that creates a match with new feelings that run through the city: reinvention, recovery and transformation,” curators Felipe Scovino and Raul Mourão state in a release on the exhibit’s website. “The artworks gathered here work in the formation of a new citizen/viewer connected with the discovery of the moving boundaries of the city.”
What: Travessias 2
Where: Galpão Bela Maré, Rua Bittencourt Sampaio, 169, Favela da Maré
When: April 13 through June 23, 2013, Wednesdays, Sundays and Sundays 10AM to 6PM, Fridays and Saturdays 10AM to 8PM