Joaquin Sarmiento: Paradise City

Posted on February 21, 2008 Under Art

There’s more to life in a favela than oppressive poverty, guns and crime, but that non-scintillating side doesn’t get enough play. It’s what Colombian photographer Joaquin Sarmiento is pushing to promote through his heartfelt Paradise City exhibit in Sao Paulo, a show of 22 works capturing what his lens saw for the past few years while he was volunteering for the non-profit Barracão dos Sonhos as a photography teacher in the unfortunately named Paraisopolis (equivalent to “Paradise City” in Portuguese) favela situated right across from one of the richest neighborhoods in the city. Most people see a mass of ubiquitous red bricks when passing by Paraisopolis, but Sarmiento saw residents doing and enjoying the same things the rest of the world does: hanging up laundry, playing football, relaxing in the shade. It provokes compassion, but it also shows that favela dwellers lead full lives too. Sarmiento’s photos are up at the Edifício Altino Arantes in Sao Paulo until March 9, but you can see what we’re checking out here plus more straight from his site; once there, click on “Paraisopolis Instantes do Paraiso.”