Rio De Janeiro
Gathering first-hand feedback from members of these communities, Sarah O’Sullivan (journalist and lover of Rio) gives the voices of the unheard a microphone as she follows police attempts to clear gangs from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Listen to her radio documentary, unveiling the feelings of those directly affected by these changes, here: THE RIGHT TO REMAIN IN SILENCE
Read about how Sarah’s love story with Rio began and her personal views on UPP ‘triumph’ below:
Love at first sight
My connection with Rio started nine years ago, when I spent Carnaval, sharing a tiny flat in Copacabana with around ten girls from Ireland, England, Australia, and Israel. My plan had been to spend Carnaval in Trinidad, and was on my way north to look for a boat when an Irish friend Laoise successfully harassed me into coming to Rio. A huge city, Rio was not on my itinerary for my trip around south America, preferring to keep it local kinda styling. Best laid plans and all that - coming to Rio changed my life. I instantly fell in love with the beat, the smiles, the energy, the messiness, that was and is Rio de Janeiro. I knew I wanted to spend some part of my life living in this city that made me feel so very alive and excited by life.
Anyway, life passed a few years, and I suddenly noticed how bored I was in my Dublin life, so decided to take the plunge and move to Rio, with my young daughter (she was two at the time). It was a spontaneous decision, and immediately seemed daft when I arrived to a wet and rainy city, not knowing a soul, and not speaking the language (turns out my fluency had been greatly whetted by Cachaca the first time round). Stubborn to the core, I didn’t admit my mistake, and stayed for the long haul.
These gorgeous shots were taken from a protest outside the entrance of 2012’s Fashion Rio in Gavea (way back in May - please excuse the lazy delay). These beautiful creatures were making a (somewhat stunning yet controversial) scene in an act against the low number of black models used in Rio’s fashion week. Summoned by NGO Educaagro, the org claims that only 10% of the models used in Fashion Rio are black. See more about this project (in portuguese) here: Radialist
…Now I feel better.
**How many packets of extra large Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch do you reckon she eats for breakfast every morning?
(…Sasha, is this what you’re heading towards?)
“Rio Breaks tells the story of two best friends, Fabio and Naama, as they navigate their way between life in the slums and surfing on their favorite beach. Thirteen-year-old Fabio and twelve-year-old Naama live in a huge favela near Arpoador Beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. What will happen to these best friends? Will their friendship survive the pressures of life in the favela? Can surfing offer a way out and the possibility of a better life?
This is the story of Rio Breaks.”
Unfortunately, screening of Rio Breaks has been and gone (oops!), but I’m pretty desperate to see this so as soon as i hear any info, I’ll be sure to update!
And by best I mean worst.
An over-blown excuse for any host-Government in power take temporary leave of their sanity, destroy villages a la China, or round up street children and dump them in the middle of nowhere a la South Africa. Basically what they see as a ‘legitimate’ way of doing the kind of stuff they wished they could do all the time (especially in Rio), all so we can watch a man jump high carrying a big stick.
I don’t know. I don’t want sound all po-faced by the whole thing, and I pretty much consider myself an honourary Brazilian (that’s just me though), but when you know how much abuse goes on in the name of ’sport’, it feel something kinda ‘porra’.
That means shit in Portuguese ; )
If you want more info on the S-African street kid controversy or want to help out, go here.
Really hating my life right now )): (
(And this is a shout to my friends , loved ones and all the people of Rio - especially the homeless - caught up in the deadly storms. Nearly 100 dead in the cidade maravilhosa. My prayers are with you.)
Beijos & fica bom everyone (: (
Mario Testino has released a new book, inspired by the girls and boys of Copacabana he is giving us a glimps of Rio through his eyes. I’m mainly posting this cause of the Rio link, however i would much prefer to see a ‘Sasha de Janeiro’ book one day….! x (Fe)
So, Happy July 4th everyone! And seeing so the US and the rest of the world has lost their favorite son, its kind of a bittersweet celebration by all accounts. But its fair to say that American pop culture has really taken a bashing this week with the loss of Farrah Fawcett also, so although I wouldn’t normally acknowledge American holidays, this one has a special poignance to it. And its means I can use it as an excuse to post another MJ tribute!! Speaking of which I went to the amazing Santa Marta favela - located a few hundred metres from el Christo which was the location of the shooting of the They Don’t Care About Us video. I timed the visit to coincide with the week anniverary of his passing, and left a single white rose as an vastly insubstnacial means to say thank you and I love you to my all time hero… . So anyhoo, whilst there I drew the attention of some local kinder, and wouldntchaknow, after learning of my reason d’etre, they treated me to a little MJ dance off - t’was quite surreal! Looking out over the most beautiful view of Rio Ive ever seen, standing where MJ once stood, feeling like elation & heartbreak all at once - special memories being made right there y’all. So, as I was posting the images you see here, I was quite taken aback to see one of the kid`s is actually giving the hand salute for the Red Command (Comando Vermelho) drug gang (hence the c and V sign)!! WTF! This was happy Michaeling moments not trafficking! And I mean that literally and figuratively because Santa Marta was the first favela in Rio to be made traffick fee (and free internet as a ‘reward’) And for the record, its hella (sorry) nice to be able to wander around a community and not have to worry whose watching from where, being careful to not mention where you live etc. Funnily enough, when I returned home to Vidigal it seemed that things had returned to normality - normality being bandits everywhere! Like three times the normal amount like they’ve been either recruiting or cloning -one of the two - so as you can see in the pic I was feeling happiest I had in a long while! Well not plaesed that theres guns everywhere but … you know! So here’s tribute Estelle stylee to our all-time favourite American Boy, Michael Jackson, thinnly disguised as a celebration to American Independence! Nahaha!(And heads up to Kanye for, “feeling like Mike at his baddest!”)
Anyway, as works of art, they certainly succeed in whisking you off to an alternate sphere of existance, but thats couture for you. I mean seriously, who actually wears couture? Like it is more dressing up than dressing but I suppose that’s the idea, but the world of couture seems so far removed from us mere mortals. But in some cases thats what great art is all about. However, a little closer to home I’m gonna use this post to as an excuse to show the greatest wedding outfit ever in the history of the wedding outfit - Bianca Jagger wearing YSL to her wedding to Mick. My God - like that is the outfit I would definately be basing my look on, (complete with near-booby splillage!) if the big day were to come my way… what a picture, the seventies, white YSL Le Smoking and a hot Latina mama - tres sexy!
Finishes 19th July
Rua Primeiro De Marco, 66
Rio De Janeiro
Not happy days on the hill unfortunately. Seems the police elite squad are gonna be doing a sustained attack here in Vidigal, which makes me feel warm and tingley for all the wrong reasons. The second BOPE (elite squad) tank rolled in today and left a few hours alter which probably means they’re figuring the best attack route. Cant imagine they came in for afternoon tea if you know what Im saying. Its weird because I’ve done a little research and I know the BOPE ( pronounced bopee) are a Government arm, are subordinate to the civil police - of whom they take no notice of anyway- and are actually a made up of officers who refused to partake in the usual ritual of killing a street kid on order to be part of the normal military. But don’t let that fool you into thinking they are somehow more compassionate. Check out their logo! I mean what kind of Government allows their military to be represented by that? And the fact is they’re going up there to try and kill teenagers and young men involved in the trafficking often out of the fact they are given little options. I interviewed a bandit from Vidigal only last week. He was smart, polite, a real gentleman and full of regret about cretain decisions he had made in his life, yet holding true to the opinion that it was either this life, or end up with nothing - just another young black guy from a slum who never had a chance. Now, I`m not condoning violence, never have and never will but the fact that the police are came in two days ago and are coming again to tray and kill this man devastates me. I`m praying for his life. Anyway, Brazil is perhaps the one place on earth where you could actually wax lyrical about the virtues of crime, and on that note I’m posting Dead Prez because sometimes people genuinely need crime to get by… c’est la vie.
Right, as my life is being dominated by wisedom toothache and English grammar- oh My God, that is even more depressing when in written form, Im posting a partcularly dark selection of graffiti handpicked from the CLFmag Botanical Garden Graffiti Archive (dontchaknow) to lure you all into my world of pain, discomfort and the blues…
Ofcourse this is all to do with my new job of teaching English to executive types, and having to re-teach myself riveting stuff like “The Gerund form”. Like what? Like why call it that?
Like “Hi, my name’s Sasha, I live in Rio and somehow the sun has well and truly set on all the fun stuff and I’m now I’m living alone, without a laptop, sleeping on foam and learning about The Gerund.”
Dark days indeed…
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY PEOPLE! It’s ‘Dio Dos Namoranados’ here in Brazil which literally translates to ‘Day Of Boyfriends’ according to my translation skillzzz so sending you all lots of dancing samba kisses your way! And to celebrate I’m finally going to start uploading this monumental backlog of graffiti pictures I have stashed here! How … romantic ?!! These images were taken near to the gorgeous Botanical Gardens here in Rio and I’m particularly smitten with the above image; the exquisite use of colour and delicate paintwork presented on this here fat parrot. And speaking of fat parrots I’d like to dedicate this special Valentines Day post to Miss Vien Le Wood - who is neither fat, nor a parrot - but she is exquisite and colourful and I hope she’ll be my Valentine!
Ohhh, I miss so you my feeder-friendling!
Loads more pics apres le jump so go enjoy!
EXTRA BEIJOOOS EVERYONE! (Sasha)
So, Brazil’s Fashion Week moves from Rio to Sao Paulo today, so it gives me more pleasure than is appropriate to bring you front row exclusive images of Tessuti and Walter Rodrigues shows here in El Rio!! And for what it’s worth, the past three days at Fashion Rio have been an absolute blast and its all thanks to my girl Luciana - the greatest, and might I mention the prettiest hustler in Rio state!!! MUITO ‘BRIGADA BABY BEAN!
Loads more exclusive catwalk pics and a look at ‘Who Wore What’ coming up…
So, in contention for my personal best day-out in Rio ever, I would like to give praise and thanks to Raizes De Movimento – a social awareness faction based in Rio’s Most Dangerous Favela TM* ; Complexo Do Alemao. Amongst many other socially conscious projects, Raizes were responsible for the gathering up of a whole host of national and international graff artist for a day long jam in the favela last weekend! Beleeeeze! Absolutely amazing to witness, seriously. Im gonna report more on the function Of Raizes Do Movimento, who basically operate in a similar tenet to Afroreggae; encouraging and motivating young ‘uns through artists expression. That is as soon as I can translate the email they sent me! But whilst Im doing this please enjoy the photographic evidence of some of the marvellous happenings and there’s more to come so stay posted!
Oh, yeah. I might as well tell you that ever single favela has a reputation for being ‘Rio’s Most Dangerous Favela TM’; a tag which does little to remove the stigma of favela living, (although neither does posting the image of a shoot-out but whatever – aaaawesome canvas painting!). You see, apparently I live in Rio’s Most dangerous favela, (Vidigal) but then so is Rochina, and City Of God. So I’m referencing some British Corporal in Iraq who when commenting on the Green Mile being the ‘Most Dangerous Road In The World’ said; “The most dangerous road in the world is the one the bus runs you over on.”
Loads more pics apres le jump…
God, I love this city, just check out what might be the most heartbreaking and prolific projects I’ve ever witnessesd, plus the weather has turned shite here in el Rio, so I need to post this before the rain washes away the final remiminants of this visual phenomen. This is the work of an elusive French photographer who goes by the name of JR. The images you see here plastered onto the Grand Arches and Cecilia Mireles Rooms in Lapa are all part of the this years offical celebration of French culture in Brazil. All portraits are of women from the slum Morro de Provincia, and moreover, all are relatives of men murdered by the Brazilian police force.
The exhibition is amazing - both literally and figuratively - given that the Government for once had the character to permit this exhibition given the context. However, this isn’t the first time JR has done work in this area - his first exhibition in Brazil was actually in Morro do Provincia itself , where he adorned stairs and barracas with portraits of women of the same tragic disposition. The only permission he needed on this occasion came from the druglords who ‘reign’ over the slum, so if you check out the images (you must check out these images) apres le jump, you’ll see what went down there. And for the record, JR undertakes these personal projects completely off his own back with money from his own pocket. On an international level, perhaps JR’s most famous installation was ” Face to Face”. According to the site Demotix ” [The] photo exhibition along the Hebron wall in Palestine [...] representing blowups of the Arabs and Palestinian faces exposed along the wall, became very famous through the world media, but the initiative got JR arrested by the Israeli authorities.”
Que um homen…
Just like an exotic, hardcore episode of Emmerdale really.
There is a general sense of tranquility here which sometimes is even a little more worrying in that kind of, “Its all gone quiet” said Rubarb, “Too quiet” said Mustard’ kind of way, but for now I’m most certainly not complaining.
So Rochina, It was fun, I’ll miss all-week par-tays, the sushi, and of course the lovely surfer’s spot Sao Corado - but it was either I leave you, or my sanity leaves me, so ate proxima!
I’ll be writing more on the stinky craziness of Rochina vs the tranquil delights of Vidgal in the forthcoming weeks but for now I’m leaving you with my favourite Baile funk video filmed in Rochina, Vem Danadinho (which means ‘naughty boy’ - I think). Coming up apres le jump is and some pics taken around and about Rochina so go check `em out. Although I will apologise for these photos here. You see, I needed good pics of Vidigal’s visual and although I don’t remember much about these pictures being taken its pretty obvious that whatever the hell I thought I was doing in the first one, I was very obviously crapping my pants in the second. Nahahaha!
As promised here is the second installment of the Os Gemeos post relating to their Vertigem exhibition at the CCBB here in Rio which officially ends today! If there’s anyone out there still wondering whether to make the trip downtown, I ask you, look at the picture below - do we look like we’re not having the time of our lives? That’s what Os Gemeos induced happiness looks like, folks. Seriously, its all the fun of the fair and then some with incredible interactive installations, like the Os Gememos customised studio you see above, the hall of mirrors and the mind-bending Os Gemeos ‘head’ as well as their more traditional canvas work.
However, as this is an art review of sorts I now have to attempt to wax lyrical on the works of Os Gemeos. In case you didn’t know, Os Gemeos - meaning ‘twins’ in Portuguese - are twin brothers Otávio and Gustavo Pandolfo. They are two of the original and most respected innovators in the street art scene from Sao Paulo. Their work is largely illustration based although they do experiment with caligraphy. Their work is very accessible yet abstract which is really what sets them apart - just how they manage to relay human emotions they way they do with characters who don’t might not instantly resemble people, in utterly surreal contexts, using an exquisite comprehension of colours and textures is beyond description and something beyond beautiful. Their work within the Brazilian street art scene has pretty much set the bar, so if Brazilian graffiti is the best in the world (it is the best in the world ;- )), then they are the best in the world.
And that’s all you need to know!
Bizarrely enough, the brothers don’t have their own site to reference their work, but the fantatsic
lost.art.br (who will feature in a forthcoming interview here in CLF) have an outstanding Os Gemeos archive - the best on the www, so get over there and be educated -it might well change your life just like it did mine!
Vertigem by Os Gemeos ends today
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil,
Rua Primeiro de Março,
66 - Centro Rio de Janeiro
Entry is free.
“I can’t live my, ah, I can’t live my
I CAN’T LIVE MY LIFE THIS WAAAAAY!”
So unless you’ve been diagnosed with terminal soul-death, there is no way you cannnot be uplifted by This Way, geddit? So as you can imagine I was bouncing off the fucking walls last weekend when DJ BABU of DILATED PEOPLES, people (!) guest starred at the Squat Festival in Lapa here in Rio! Now, I`ve never been that great at forming opinion; the concept of constructive critisicm just eludes me ‘cos I find pretty much everything amazing howeverrrr, this gig truly was amaaaaazing. It also featured Brazilian DJ Sany Pitbull who along with the crowd were pretty awesome so thank you everyone and the ticket touts particularly for giving me such a memorable and decidely cheap night out.
Being in Lapa also afforded me my first glimpse of the phenomenal JR art exhibition which features the faces of women who’ve all had male relatives murdered by the Brazilian police , plastered over the magnificent Lapa Arches. I’ll be posting a much more in-depth review of that exhibition very soon. Heart-breaking stuff. And that weren’t enough, I returned home just in time to witness just about the most incredible sunrise ever from my very own terrace in Vidigal favela.
Now, I was torn between posting This Way or Worst Comes To Worst, two of my all time favourite tracks, but This Way wins out for being THE anthem my girl Nooshin `Moz Def` Shabani and my 2007 tour of Latin America, so this ones for you baby girl!
Loads more fun & pics apres le jump!
Alrighty, it seems everyone is weighing in with reviews for the Vertigem exhibition by Os Gemeos so it’s about time we hopped aboard plus the fact I’ve been would make sense to do so. & It’s also a great way to mark the occasion of sighting my second O.G. street piece here in Sao Paulo! Yah!! Suffice to say we’ll be updating this post with a more traditional review entry but for now just enjoy the images. Plus it’s Os Gemeos who I’m actually in love with was genuinely gutted when I discovered they were married and living in Berlin. (What’s Portuguese for loser ?) So I’m happy to make this like a five-part-post or even just use abritary links to my life experinces as a reason to stick their stuff up on here like;
“So, today I woke up and thought I was seeing double. You know, double in the same manner as twins are double? Twins like the world famous garff twins Os Gemeos, who create pictors like theeeeese…” etc.