Vila Cruzeiro, Rio de Janeiro 2007

“Dre and I traveled to Rio in 2006 to do research for our plan to paint a favela. We scouted the city for locations until we returned to Vila Cruzeiro where we shot part of our Firmeza Total documentary two years earlier.
We walked across the football pitch when we noticed three houses that seemed to sit right in the centre of the bowl that forms Vila Cruzeiro. Eventhough we had come for research it felt better to make something and learn through experience so we asked for permission to paint the three houses.” 

“We showed several designs but the one of a boy looking upward to the sky at his kite was by far the most popular with the families living in the three houses. We asked our friends if they knew some people who might want to help us with the painting. Vitor and Mauri, both 19, showed up and we started painting. After about two months the painting was finished. Often our work was interrupted by weather or violence between the police and local authorities.”

“As we stood in the middle of the field taking pictures a boy holding a kite asked us where the kite was. We said something like you have to imagine it. He said that was dumb. If the boy is flying a kite, we need to see the kite. A local doormaker made a kite out of steel for us and we looked up the hill where we could ask to hang it. Way op the hill, following the line the boy is holding, a house painted in a blue very similar to our sky. The lady who lived there let us mount the kite on her balcony.”

“It didn’t take long before boy with kite fell victim to the violence. The wall he is painted on was already full of bullet holes but now he had one in his forehead. Over time the paint started falling off. In 2012 we took time off from our project in Philadelphia to restore boy with kite as the video shows.” 

(skip to 22:51)