Published  08/03/2007

New Shanty

Two key individuals originating from the Netherlands have jointly initiated the formation of an open-air art gallery in the Vila Cruzeiro shantytown edging Rio de Janeiro. Jeroen Koolhass, the Dutch illustrator who works for the New Yorker magazine and the Amsterdam art director Dre Urhahn have teamed up to establish a new and dispersed art museum, so enhancing the rundown community which they have adopted. The art gallery at Vila Cruzeiro lies within the gun zone there where it is estimated some 120,000 teenagers inhabit the Complexo de Penha, the group of shantytowns to which Vila Cruzeiro is attached. Murals are spreading all over the community, brightening the grim conditions. Urhahn himself claims that with support from emergent local artists, a kind of 'organic museum' can spread into other surrounding shantytowns in Rio.

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