In Santa Marta, a tough slum in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, a spectacular painting project called Praça Cantão has transformed a run-down town square into a vibrant display of colours. Thirty four houses have been painted on the giant hillside favela in an array of bright shades, designed to look like rays spreading out from the centre of the houses.
Part of the Favela Painting project by Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn (known as Haas & Hahn), a team of local young residents were trained to complete the artwork, learning new skills and earning an income in their own neighbourhood. “This work of art can make a colourful difference in the lives of local individuals, the community and the city of Rio,” said Urhahn.
The project aims to change communities in Rio into beautiful, inspirational monuments through works of art. The next task will be to transform the whole of the favela in a similar fashion to the 34 houses which have already been painted, spreading spectacular colours throughout many neighbourhoods. The artists have big plans for their project, with Urhahn stating, “I see no reason why we cannot recreate this idea across 300 houses, 3000 houses, whether its in Rio, Johannesburg, Mumbai or anywhere in the world.”