Colorful Favelas

Project from a company that produces house paint is transforming the poor communities

Art is life. Through art, people find comfort, happiness and self-esteem, which can often be hard to find in other aspects of your everyday life. What’s happening at the Santa Maria favela, South area of Rio de Janeiro, is an example of this: a project that involves residents, artists and volunteers to renew the facades of houses, walls and stairways of the hill, giving colour and a new life to a space that deserves attention.

The project, called “Tudo de cor para você” (all in colours for you), is led by Tintas Coral and started two years ago. Ever since then, over 270 properties were painted, including emblematic spaces of the favela, such as the samba court, the main stairway or the place where, in 1996, Michael Jackson recorded the video for “They don’t care about us”, which has a statue of the artist, along with a breathtaking view of the wonderful city.

Thanks to this view, a great location downtown and the dynamism of the community, the number of tourists and visitors in Santa Marta has grown which can only have positive effects not only in the self-esteem of those who live there but also in the economic condition of those who have businesses in the hill. The painting project of Tintas Coral gives the final push, inserting Santa Maria in Rio’s urban art route.

Speaking of urban art, Swell, a graffiti artist who lives in the hill itself, is one of the guests for the most recent action of the project, the painting of the favela’s entrance wall, which has about 30 meters of extension by three meters of height. Aside from Swell, Mario Band’s, from the north area of the city, is intervening with original drawings and characteristic features of his art, complemented with symbols from the community.

The most amazing feature of the project is that it is being done in complete partnership with the favela’s residents and organizers, who authorize and participate in all of the actions. A committee was created in 2012 and, in the beginning of the following year, the paintings started to leave the drawing paper. Today hundreds of houses are involved but the idea is not to stop here.

Aside from the façade renovation, the residents have the opportunity to enrol in training courses of painting, alongside Senai. Volunteers from all over the city and even the world are enthusiastic about participating in this project, having participated in several actions throughout these two years.