Rocinha, Brazil & the SprayVida Team

Written by Reuben Rankin

While it is unreasonable to expect everybody to personally travel the globe to form personal opinions of the world so much of what we know is based in negative stereotypes driven by what sells in the news. Lets take favelas, a quick search of “favelas” in google news and the entire landing page consists of articles that headline with “death, violence, gangs or drugs.” It is these key words that shape the way people think about favelas in Rio, in Brazil, and the world. Despite the fact that the majority of favela residents are hardworking people simply trying to make a better life for their family they too take on these negative stereotypes.

It is our goal and belief at SprayVida that through street art we can start to change these negative stereotypes and give people a voice to create their own image to share with the world. For the past two years collaborating with local artist and residents we have painted well over 200 houses and walls in favelas throughout Rio, each wall a reflection of the community and their vision for the future; because if the physical image of the favela can match the beauty found within the negativity surrounding the communities will start to change.

This specific piece in Rocinha is a direct reflection of the lack of “voice” in the communities. Sabotage is considered the “tupac” of Brazil singing about the level of disparity between the rich and poor, the lack of opportunity for poor people to leave the favelas. While Sabotage died over 10 years ago this is still a reality that very much exists in todays Brazil. It also represents how willing and excited people from favelas are to join in on projects with positive goals. We started painting alone at 9am and by the end of the day there were over 7 graffiti artists contributing to the piece eager to change the “face” of the favela.

This was one of the most beautiful days we have had at SprayVida and something that truly represents what we believe, through street art not only did we change the physical image of the square however we got a large group of people together to talk about the messages of Sabotage and what we can do to better “our” future.

We would like to thank everyone at Beautify Earth and the amazing people who support them because without you guys projects like these would not be possible, we are just a small piece in a large puzzle of working for a better world and truly appreciate all the help we can get!

Many thanks,

The SprayVida Team