favela painting by haas&hahn
original content
dec 13, 2011
favela painting by haas&hahn

section of ‘praça cantão, communidade da santa marta’, 2010, rio de janeiro, brazil
image © favela painting project



as part of the 2011 shenzhen hong kong biennale’s program (SZHK), dutch art collective haas&hahn (jeroen koolhaas and dre urhahn) who founded the favela painting project, curated and presented an exhibition of their initiative’s work, which aims at turning public urban spaces in communities facing social difficulties into monumental works of art. the art of favela painting is not about cosmetically ‘camouflaging’ an area, but rather rejuvenating deprived areas of a city and creating a positive social effect on the general district at hand. it is a means of imagination and rethinking, redesigning and rebranding a community at whole.


in 2005, haas&hahn began with developing the idea of creating their community-driven art interventions in brazil. they set-up a series of project in rio’s vila cruzeiro, which later spread to places such as santa marta. the duo’s artistic venture offers local youth education and job opportunities, while beautifying their community and making it a more pleasant place to live. together with these local youth, koolhaas and urhahn have created striking facades which have become iconic works of art within rio’s urban landscape. koolhaas and urhahn have been invited by the SZHK biennale to realize a favela painting in shenzhen within the  old buildings of luohu cigarette factory.



section of ‘praça cantão, communidade da santa marta’
image © favela painting project


section of ‘praça cantão, communidade da santa marta’
image © favela painting project


‘praça cantão, communidade da santa marta’, 2010, rio de janeiro, brazil
image © favela painting project


images © favela painting project



‘rio cruzeiro’, 2008 in vila cruzeiro, brazil

image © favela painting project


detail of ‘rio cruzeiro’
image © favela painting project


‘rio cruzeiro’ painting in progress
image © favela painting project


‘boy with kite’, 2007 by haas&hahn in rio de janiero, brazil
image © favela painting project


detail of ‘boy with kite’
image © favela painting project


image © favela painting project


general view of the ‘favela painting project’ exhibition at the shenzhen hong kong biennale 2011
image © designboom



jeroen koolhaas and dre urhahn of the favela painting project
portrait © designboom



haas & hahn speak with designboom about the favela painting project at the shenzhen hong kong biennale 2011
video © designboom


the 2011 SZHK biennale

in shenzhen, china ran from december 8th through december 11th 2011. the scale of certain projects is such that the architect becomes not only a designer of buildings but also city planner and landscape architect and the shenzhen & hong kong bi-city biennale of urbanism \ architecture reflects this in its theme: architecture creates cities – cities create architecture. the SZHK biennale is the first to focus on urbanism as an ongoing theme to explore issues of the city as an active agent in contemporary culture. the program included more than 30 exhibitions, symposiums, panel discussions and performances. terence riley has been appointed chief curator (he is the first international curator for the event). the hong kong edition will work to complement the shenzhen biennale in an integrative way and is curated by gene king and anderson lee currently under preparation and due to open in february 2012. designboom is the principal international media partner of the SZHK biennale.

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