When news reports tend to focus on the negative aspects of life in favelas, its refereshing to hear some good news once in a while. This past Sunday, June 1st, 2014 in Rocinha, under the organization of Wark a local famous artist opened up a grafitti opportunity for artists as far off as over 2 hours away from Rio to come and color the neighborhood. Wark was able to find the right spot and residents who were welcome to receive art on walls and houses.
Recently Rocinha has suffered incidents of violence between drug traffickers and police. There are certain areas of Rocinha where this is more likely to happen. Just a day before this grafitti artist reunion, there was a shooting and conflicts where one man was killed and two others were injured.
Throughout the day, a grafitti storm took over 2nd Street in Rocinha. "Rocinha Invites" brought together about 60 graffiti artists from the community and other areas of Rio with the objective to paint the streets, alleys, businesses and houses on 2nd Street. But painting was only one of the missions of the event. There was a stage set up with MCs and B-boys & B-girls.
A few years back Wark brought together artists to paint behind an area that is now a huge cinic (UPA) for the community. This time again, Wark Graffiti with support from residents of Rocinha was able to bring together all these great artists. I think that the idea was to bring joy, through art in an area of high risk after the implementation of the UPP (Pacifying Police Units). For 2nd street this event was important to show strength in community considering the recent conflicts taken place.
While the artists painted, rappers rhymed without stopping. The hip hop style has always been joined with 4 aspects of the culture and in the favela its no different. With grafitti comes djing, MC's and B Boys & girls! They are part of the same movemet and it's all one thing. When a MC rhymes, the graffiti artist paints, the B-boys use the movements and the DJ spins the tunes. The DJ table with the participation of MC Marcio Souza with MC Oz rhymed several times. Even Zack George from the USA and founder of "Roots Rio" took his turn on the mic to do a improvised flow with the crew stationed on to of the stage.
The event was not sponsored and had no financial support. This was a total coloboration of community and non community members tied to a love of the favela. This was a positive action taken by Wark who loves his community but the importance of bringing together people instead of territorial fights that often dictategrafitti in other parts of the world. The residents even offered food and drinks to the painters. Some were invited into people's homes to relax and eat. Rocinha is like this, a big friendly place!
One of the women, Joan has been making grafitti for about 20 years was painting a house where nobody lived and neighbors offered her food and if she needed the bathroom to clean up. You could see that it was because of the friendly atitude throughout this event that the artists were able to create some masterpieces.
Kadinho, who lives on 2nd street was able to help Wark access wals, businesses and houses to paint. Kadinho is well known the the area. A few days before the event, he walked through 2nd street asking the locals if they wanted their areas painted. Wark was able to number certain areas so when the painters came, he has his clipboard all ready to show each artist their area to paint.
Wark is even thinking about other areas to paint in Rocinha that dont get much attention. Some of the poorer areas like Roupa Suja, Valao and Macega are places Wark things would benefit from grafitti. But for now, if you walk down 2nd street you will see walls that before looked lifeless now shine with color!
All Photos shown here were taken by me (Zezinho)