City of God/ Cidade de Deus: Rio de Janeiro

IMG_2948It’s been a jam-packed month in Rio de Janeiro, def one of my favorite places in the world. In what has become a regular gig, I worked with the young folks at ASVI, a community organization in the favela City of God (Cidade de Deus) in Rio’s western zone, to create a series of works of public art pieces and learn about important community issues. A great friend of mine, the super community-oriented Anglican priest Nicholas Wheeler, organizes the project and funds it through the Church in London. Nicholas is my favorite kind of religious guy; focused on uplifting the neighborhood and working with everyone to achieve this goal, including people like me who are not members of the Church or even Christianity. There is so much more that unites people when we can agree upon common goals, instead of the destructive tendency to focus on that divides us.

We first worked on a mosaic piece, which was way more work than I expected! But the kids had a lot of fun with it and learned a new set of skills. We also created two murals that used familiar biblical stories to explore current social and community issues, and liven up some of the squares in the City of God. I also got a chance to get out in the city and go to the beach, catch some live samba and other parties, and of course catch up with my friends here in Rio and meet some amazing new people.

The Garden of Eden– Brazil style!

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2013: Joel regularly leads youth mural projects in the City of God (Cidade de Deus) community in collaboration with the youth NGO ASVI, organized by the Paróchia Anglicana Cidade de Deus

A new piece in the Plaza of the Prophets. All the plazas and streets in the City of God have biblical names, so the murals combine these familiar themes with current social issues relevant to the community. The youth contribute to the themes and designs.
A new piece in the Plaza of the Prophets. All the plazas and streets in the City of God have biblical names, so the murals combine these familiar themes with current social issues relevant to the community. The youth contribute to the themes and designs.
IMG_2916
The kids working on the mosaic.