For the past year, as part of his WOMEN project, JR has been involved in a large-scale event in the oldest favela (shanty town) of Rio de Janeiro. In August 2008, some 20 gigantic portraits of women living in the favela were pasted on more than 40 houses. For the first time, it was art and culture that put Morro da Providencia in the headlines: it has had the reputation of being the most dangerous favela in Rio.
In April 2009, JR returned to Brazil to organize a major exhibition both in the streets of Rio and a local museum. For him, the journey was above all a chance to return and see the people living in Morro da Providencia, and to finalize a project on which he had been working for several months: this was the opening of the “Casa Amarela” (Yellow House), a cultural center for children right in the very heart of the shanty town. The Canon Group offered him support in this seemingly crazy project. Attracted both by JR’s artistic initiative and the social and cultural commitment of the project, Canon donated 15 EOS 450D digital SLR cameras and a PIXMA printer to the Casa Amarela, for use by children at the center. At the end of April, the Casa Amarela finally opened – a space for freedom and creativity where none was left, a space accessible to all inhabitants of the favela, so that art and culture would remain there forever.
In the “Yellow House”, a splash of color on a mountain of concrete, children of the favela now enjoy photography; they held their first exhibition to mark the grand opening on April 25th, 2009. JR, to whom Canon lent a prototype of the new EOS 500D Full HD digital SLR, has now brought back this short video that tells the story of the birth of the Casa Amarela.