Saturday, December 26, 2009

Morro da Coroa

Rio de Janeiro is a city full of beautiful wonders. For each individual spectator, the beauty is found any many different forms. For me, Rio is beautiful for not only their wonderful beaches but also their lush, rich mountains, colorful and crowed streets, and most importantly, for the people that come from all over the world with the same mission, to see this marvelous place!! Sometimes I still can't pin point why I enjoy this place as much as I do. I think some of the reasons are indescribable but rather a feeling and an instinct that keeps coming back and will for some time. Often I feel like when I am there, I am somehow a different person, which in some ways one could argue is quite ironic. I felt like I was more myself in this other country, with a different language and culture. I guess in some ways it’s because these last few months, I was finding myself, the things I like and dislike along with discovering the new and I haven’t had the chance to do this any other time or at least be happy about it! I was confident, I was happy with myself, and I was enjoying everything about my life.

When it comes to being in a new place or environment, my natural instinct is to want to familiarize myself with the simple things. I often times find myself trying to remember landmarks on a street or certain names that will forever remain in my memory. When I rode throughout the city, whether that be on the bus or in a taxi I always was people watching or glued to the window and captivated by the scenery. I think some of my favorite memories spent in Rio, this past trip, were actually when I was commuting around the city by bus or foot trying to reach a destination for a meeting or to visit my family. It’s hard to believe at one time I was petrified of riding the bus because after a few weeks, I took it everywhere and often 3 or 4 times a day. On my many adventures around town, I once in awhile found myself taking a cab from the south zone to the north zone either on my way to the Rodaviara or bus station. It is impossible to drive through Rio without spotting a mountain covered with a favela or shantytown, which are the homes of thousands of Cariocas, each one uniquely different and spread throughout the city. One in particular has always been of interest to me because of the absurd color palette. See it is common to pass by a favela and just be amazed at the colors that are created by the mismatch placement of each building. I found it is easy to appreciate the beauty found in these communities and just how captivating they are to many people. Well in this one favela I had noticed, there are sections that have been painted this funky blue and I was always questioning why this was. I asked a few people and had some different responses. One response involved a theory about the different communities within the favela or possibly a way in which the drug lords mark off territory but I wasn’t really buying any that I had heard. It didn’t really make sense to me. So….I decided to do a little research on the net and see what I could find.

With the help of google maps I was able to identify the area where the favela was located, I’ve identified the favela as Morro da Coroa. Here is a pic that I found through my search. Gives you an idea of what I was talking about with the blue buildings but it looks even more absurd from afar.

Through my search, I stumbled upon this site about two guys from The Netherlands that started painting murals inside favelas in Rio. I am not really sure if this is what is being worked on in Coroa but thought it would make for an interesting post. They launched the Firmeza Foundation that supports the creation of striking artworks in unexpected places. It collaborates with local people to use art as a tool to inspire, create beauty, combat prejudice and attract attention. The project has really taken off in the last few years and it seems they have gained a lot of exposure through what they are doing. Here is a link to their site Favela Paintings and also some youtube videos you should check out. These projects look amazing and what they are planning next will be incredible. They want to organize a project where an entire favela will be painted with the help of everyone in the community. Each house hold would help paint their own house. From what I have read, it seems that the project will take place in a favela located in Copacabana but I am still not sure. They don't give a direct name. I was hoping it was the Morro da Coroa! Here is a link from their site about it. Check it out!

More Info

Getting involved in something like this seems like a great opportunity. Something new to look into to during my next trip!

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