A colorful community

The Caminho do Grafite brings a splash – or rather an explosion – of color to the grey everyday life in the favela of Morro dos Prazeres. We present a video of Rio de Janeiro‘s spectacular graffiti path

 This view is…hmm – wow! probably describes it best: Spread out in front of us is the bay of Rio de Janeiro, in the distance the magnificent Sugar Loaf juts up; behind us, Cristo, surrounded by tiny, fluffy clouds, is silhouetted against the blue sky.

We meet Charles Siqueira high up above the more famous, more touristy Rio. We are standing in the middle of the favela Morro dos Prazeres, which translates as the hill of happy people. And the name is appropriate, despite the fact that this place is home to some of the city’s poorest folk. All around us people seem to be enjoying themselves: a few youngsters are kicking a ball around on a fenced-in pitch; a group of elderly men are sharing a large beer in small glasses, very typical for Brazil, and their laughter echoes through the narrow passageways. And then there are all the brightly colored walls, the reason we have come up the hill of Santa Teresa.

Together with local artists, Siqueira set up the project Caminho do Grafite: a graffiti path that snakes its way through the favela. The idea is to attract tourists who will then bring a little desperately needed money into Morro dos Prazeres. “We want to make the favela attractive for visitors. The entrance is right next to the road up to Cristo. Hundreds of people pass by, but they remain outside. Our aim is to get them to come in,“ says Siqueira.

Over 50 graffiti artists have left their mark here, some of whom are true celebrities in the graffiti scene. Márcio SWK recently exhibited his pictures in some of Europe’s major cities, and visited Paris, London and Berlin. But however far he travels, his home will always be here, in this favela. This place made a man of him, he says. For our film, we met up with Márcio, watched him work on his latest piece for the Caminho do Grafite and listened to his vision for this project…