During Graffiti Gone Global's, Fresh Produce exhibit presented at Art Basel Miami Beach, Crane.Tv met up with Dre Urehahn and Jeroen Koolhaas, the duo behind artistic working name Haas & Hahn to discuss their latest work.
The pair are best known for the Favela Painting Project where they collaborated with the local youth in the slums of Rio de Janeiro to create colorful street art within the community. With the incorporation of the local young people came a certain symbiosis. For them, not only did it offer a way out of the drug culture so prevalent in the area but also allowed those they worked with to simultaneously earn money and acquire a new skill.
After many months of careful painting and hard work in the neighborhoods, the end result was art on an epic scale, with the landscape being transformed by bold colors and patterns. In a climate where poverty and crime are rife, the introduction of the painting project has not only brought optimism into the favelas but has also generated revenue and international attention. Encompassing all aspects of art, architecture and social work, the duo saw what was intially purely an aesthetic motivation develop a deeper social focus.
Graffiti Gone Global is renowned for bringing the most edgy and unique urban art to the forefront of contemporary art, blurring the boundaries between the street and gallery. For the project Hass & Hahn were commissioned to set up an installation that paid homage to their latest endeavors. Within the space they erected shanty-like structures, acting as a large-scale canvas which reflected their previous works during the Favela Painting project.
The pair described to Crane.tv their experiences painting the favela neighbourhoods of Rio de Janeiro and the social difficulties they faced. Their journey began after Koolhaas won a competition to make a documentary, and chose to focus on hip hop in Brazil. Urehahn whom was already working in television accompanied him, and the pair developed the idea of favela painting which has now transformed into the large scale project that it is today.
Future plans include the O Morro project where they aim to paint an entire hillside in Rio. If successful, it would be the largest communal urban art installation of our time. Watch Crane.tv's video here:
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Text by Shekha Vyas for Crane.tv.