Favelakultur im VW-Bus

Es muss ja nicht immer ein Onlineprojekt sein. Mit einem betagten, knallbunt bemalten VW-Bus wollen Eddu Grau aus dem Complexo do Alemão und seine Freundin Ellen Sluis die Kluft zwischen Favelas und dem Rest der Stadt überbrücken. Der “Kombi 55” soll die mobile Ergänzung zum Kulturzentrum “Barraco 55” im Complexo do Alemão sein – und Kultur, Kunst und Menschen aus den Favelas in andere Stadtteile transportieren.

Kombi 55 (Foto: Eddu Grau)

#Kombi 55 (Foto: Eddu Grau)

Die Idee wurde jetzt mit einem brasilianischen Kreativpreis, dem Prêmio Brasil Criativo, ausgezeichnet. Und eine Facebookseite und sogar einen Hashtag besitzt das Projekt natürlich auch.

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Mars da Favela: “Crystals not Pistols”

Als die australische Rapperin und Schmuckdesignerin Mars Castro 2010 zum ersten Mal nach Rio kam, verknallte sie sich – in Rio und einen jungen Mann aus der Favela Rocinha. Sie ließ sich von lokaler Kultur und der Drogengang inspirieren – und verwandelt jetzt Munition in tragbare Kunst. In English, please.

"Crystals not Pistols (Foto: Mars da Favela)

“Crystals not Pistols (Foto: Mars da Favela)

Was hattest du für eine Vorstellung von Favelas, bevor du Rocinha besucht hast? 

Das Einzige, was ich über Favelas wusste, war, dass es dort Baile Funk und Funk-Partys gibt. Ich bin Rapperin und bin nach Brasilien gekommen, um mit DJ Marlboro zu arbeiten. Aber er hängt nicht in den Favelas herum, er ist ziemlich kommerziell geworden. Es war so gedacht, dass wir ihn als Teil seiner großen Groupie-Gefolgschaft überall hinbegleiten sollten, von der VIP-Loge bei seinen Gigs zu seinem Haus – das war ganz schön sexistisch. Ich habe mich dann nach einer Weile von der Gruppe verabschiedet, weil ich authentische Leute kennenlernen wollte.

Wie hast du dann die Favela Rocinha entdeckt?

Ich habe einen Mann aus der Favela kennengelernt – und er war völlig anders als die Leute vom „asfalto“, also die, die nicht in einer Favela wohnen, und anders als die Möchtegerns, mit denen ich meine Zeit verbracht hatte. Er war authentisch und nicht so abgehoben.

Als ich alle seine Freunde, seine Familie kennenlernte, hatte ich endlich das Gefühl, Cariocas richtig kennenzulernen und mit einer großen Community herumzuhängen. Eine endlos lange Lovestory später fand ich mich in der Favela Rocinha wieder, wo ich mit ihm und seiner Familie lebte. Er ist jetzt mein Ehemann – und wir leben mit einem Fuß in Melbourne, Australien, und mit dem anderen in Rocinha, Rio.

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Wie würdest du die Atmosphäre in der Favela beschreiben?

Rocinha ist für mich mein zweites Zuhause. Es ist eine tolle, lebendige Community, voller liebenswerter Menschen, die hart arbeiten. Als ich mit reicheren Brasilianern unterwegs war, habe ich aber erlebt, dass es immer noch ein großes Stigma ist, in einer Favela zu leben und wie groß die Kluft zwischen der Arbeiterklasse aus der Favela und den Wohlhabenderen ist.

Die Medien heizen das Vorurteil an, dass Favelas gefährliche Orte sind, aber du kannst den Mainstream-Medien nicht vertrauen. Natürlich gibt es in der Favela Waffen und Drogengangs – aber eine Favela ist kein rechtloser Ort. Keiner rennt herum und schießt einfach so auf Menschen, wie es in Filmen oder in den Nachrichten oft dargestellt wird.

Die einzige Ordnung die ich in Rio jemals gesehen habe, war in der Favela. Es gibt dort die Gesetze der Favela: Keine Morde, kein Diebstahl, keine Vergewaltigungen, keine Gewalt – das wird alles nicht toleriert. Ich habe mich in der Favela viel sicherer als außerhalb der Favela gefühlt. Dieses Gesetz, dass der Chef der Favela geschaffen hat, soll absichern, dass es in der Favela friedlich und ruhig ist und dass die Polizei draußen bleibt – damit die Drogendealern ungestört ihren Geschäften nachgehen können. Sie können nicht aus der Favela heraus, weil sie dann verhaftet werden würden – also versuchen sie sich die Favela zu einem möglichst angenehmen Ort zu machen.

Ich habe Nem, den Boss, getroffen, bevor er verhaftet wurde und er hat Geld aus dem Drogengeschäft ausgegeben, um Reparaturen und Bauarbeiten in der Favela zu bezahlen, er hat ärmeren Bewohnern Geld für Medikamente gegeben und für die jüngeren Leute Partys geschmissen. Die Drogengangs haben in den letzten 30 Jahren die Infrastruktur aufgebaut, auch die Wasserversorgung. Die Regierung wollte nichts mit den Favelas zu tun haben – für den Staat sind Favelas Probleme, die nicht mal auf der Karte erscheinen.  Continue reading

Mars da Favela: “Crystals not Pistols”

When Australian jewelry designer, musician and rapper Mars Castro came to Rio in 2010 she fell in love – with a boy and Rocinha. Inspired by the local gang culture she started to design jewelry, turning ammunition into a creative space.

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How was your image of Favelas before you knew Rocinha?
 The only thing I knew of the favela was the Baile Funk music and funk parties.  I’m a rapper as well and came to Brazil partly to work with DJ Marlboro. But he doesn’t hang out  in the favela’s, he’s rather commercial these days. We were pretty much just expected to follow him around in his large entourage of girls. From VIP’s at his exclusive DJ gigs back to his mansion and it was a bit sexist and debauched really. I kinda broke away from that crowd after a while because I wanted to meet some genuine people.


What is your relationship to Rocinha?
Well I actually met a boy from the favela.  And he was very different to the people living on the ‘asfalto’ (non favela dwellers) or wanna be’s that I had been hanging around with. He was genuine and super down to earth. And a total breathe of fresh air. When he showed me where he lived and I got to meet all his friends and family I was relieved to be getting to know the real Cariocas and hang out in the larger community. And that happened to be Rocinha. So one long epic love story later.. I ended up living with him and his family in Rocinha. He’s now my  husband. And we have one foot here in Melbourne, Australia, and the other in Rocinha, Rio.
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Just married (All pics: Mars da Favela)

Mars & Mako: Just married (All pics: Mars da Favela)

How would you describe the place, the vibe here?
To me Rocinha is my second home. I see it as a beautiful, thriving community. Full of lovely hard working people. I however realized the stigma of living in a favela after hanging out with ‘Richer Brazilians’ and there is such a great divide between working class (from the favela) and the ‘Upper Class’.


The media fuels the pre conception of the favela being such a dangerous place. But the reality is within this country that is so full of corrupt officials and police you just can’t believe anything if the mainstream news. Of course there’s the guns/gangster side of the favela. But it’s not lawless. No one’s running around shooting at everyone wrecklessly like portrayed in the movies or news.


Infact the only law and order I ever saw in Rio was in the Favela. There exists what is know as the  ‘Law of the favela’ which is: No killing, no stealing, no raping and no physical abuse, it’s not tolerated at all. I felt alot safer within the favlela than outside. This ‘law’ created by the ‘Don’ of the favela is there to keep the peace and to keep police out of the favela, so he and his workers/gangstas can do run their business (selling drugs) with no problems.  These guys can’t leave the favela because they’ll get arrested so they make their community the best place it can be.


I actually met him (Nem, the Don) before he was arrested and he was giving money (drug money) to do repairs and construction within the favela, giving money for medicines to poorer residents, putting on parties for the younger people. Infact for the last 30 years the dons of the favela and the gangsta’s are the ones who have built the infrastucture, including the entire water supply. The government didn’t want anything to do with the favelas. To the government they are an embarrassing problem that aren’t even on the maps.


How would you describe the art and culture scene within the Favela?
I don’t know if the people in the Favela actually care about going to an art gallery or writing essays on culture. As the working class, they’re probably so busy working 6 days a week for minimum wage that  they don’t  recognise how creative they actually are. For example: To build a thriving community out of not much, to see a hill and go forth to build your own water supply, hook up your own electicity (gatas) and make a home by your bare hands out of sticks and bricks  is artistic genius in itself. Step back and look at the Favela. IT  IS ART. And when you live in it, I don’t think you realise how amazing it is. Are the people in the favela artists?  Absolutely: To build something so amazing out of nothing is the ultimate in creativity.


Why is Rocinha an inspiration for you?
There’s too much inspiration to list.  A majority of my inspiration for the jewelry came from seeing how the ‘traficantes’  are fighting for their territory, literally. Fighting to feed their family. In such a corrupt country with such disparity between rich and poor, the people obviously do what they need to.  To see gangsters on the street carrying weapons and that sense of power and the fashion associated  to it.


The powerful imagery of  gold chains and big guns was inspiring because of the total contrast from the outside world of corrupt police, corrupt politicians and militia. Everyone’s out to make a buck for themselves and not spreading the money or love. The gangstas are the only ones that aren’t hiding behind a facade.


Gangstas aside, in my day to day life my inspiration comes from the joy the people of Rocinha exude and share. Dancing all night, Barbeque’s on the roof, Hanging out with your neigbours in the street, knowing everyone, having such an amazing and sharing community.  The simple vitality and positivity of people who’s homes are known as ill reputed favelas, but to them it’s their home, their communidade.
"Crystals not Pistols (pic: Mars da Favela)

“Crystals not Pistols” (pic: Mars da Favela)

 Why did you pick guns and ammunition as a material for your work?
I saw a gangsta one day in the street , he looked about 15, was carrying an Ak 47 and wearing this T-shirt that read PAZ (PEACE) in huge print across the chest. That really made me think you know. It confused me alot. Was he being ironic? Or was he actually a peacekeeper?


The more I thought about it.. what choice did he have growing up in a disadvantaged community, within a prejudiced system, with limited education because he can’t afford school fees. This is the only opportunity to empower himself. That juxtaposition of peace and violence got me really thinking.


What is the message that you want to spread with your jewellery? 
I am adamantely against the corruption of Brazil’s police and politicians, against the stereotyping  of favelas, I am all for empowering yourself – not with guns however, but with the message of unity. That we are all fighting the injustices of this world. And we don’t do it with guns.


The bullet shells are empty and discarded, and we fill them with beauty. With natural crystals with powerful energies that uplift and inspire and heal. I call this collection “Crystals not Pistols” just like “The pen is mightier than the sword” – The crystal is mightier that the pistol. The inspiration comes from so much injustice, but the message we wish to spread is one of consciousness and hope.


Where are your materials sourced?
Empty bullet cases are sent to me from various people, usually spent shells from gun ranges. I’m pretty sure none of my bullets have been used to shoot anyone. However I do make custom pieces sometimes where people send me bullets from their travels from the Middle East for example and want me to convert them to a jewelry keepsake.


The crystals I use are all naturally formed. The amethyst and Citrine are  beautiful in colour and quality. Sourced obviously from the Mother producer of stunning gemstones – Brazil itself.  A few stones also, such as Clear quartz I source from Madagascar and Smokey Quartz from Australia.


Do you think that Favelas are an Inspiration for more and more artists nowadays? 
Artists are typically the black sheep in their family/community, as are the favelas. They’re the misunderstood black sheep on the horizon, built illegally and out of nessesity with whatever was available.


The favela is an inspiration to idealists, to architects to horticulturalists to musicians to artists, to all people who see how naturally and beautifully they’ve grown. It’s hard not be inspired by their vibrancy. The local musicians songs and painters pictures of the favela give a beautiful perspective on the obvious love of they have for their home. I ♥ Rocinha!


More Pictures of Mars da Favela`s jewelry and Facebook Page