Jesus, Make-Up, and Football




Frederik Buyckx (1984, Belgium) rented a ‘pied-à-terre’ for a few months in a favela, sharing the inhabitants’ day-to-day worries. In Rio de Janeiro, around 20% of inhabitants live in improvised facilities located in populous neighbourhoods which lie cheek to cheeky jowl with the better, more middle-class neighborhoods ('asfaltos'). In these mountain favelas only a few things actually matter: Jesus, make-up and football. It is there that Buyckx learned to come to terms with the rhythmic 'ra-ta-ta' of gunfire at night. One of these nocturnal shoot-outs might lead you to the conclusion that a favela is run exclusively by crime, the law of the fastest bullet. While the violence cannot be denied, there's more to be seen beyond the poverty and unemployment - for those who spend more than an afternoon in the slums.

This is an extended version of the portfolio as it originally appeared in GUP#40, the Eyes on Brazil issue.