Analysis Of Waste Land By Vik Muniz

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Located just outside Rio de Janeiro, Jardim Gramacho, Brazil, is the world’s largest garbage landfill. Waste Land is an academy award winning documentary about a modern artist, Vik Muniz, who journeys from his home base in Brooklyn, New York, to his native Brazil, where he visits the landfill. There he photographs four catadores-pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to paint portraits of the catadores using garbage, auction off the portraits, and give the money to the catadores, as his way of giving back to the community. However, his collaboration with these inspiring pickers as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both dignity and despair as the pickers begin to re-imagine their lives.…show more content…
As I stated in the beginning, Muniz took pictures of the catadores and had them sculpt their portraits with the garbage that they have picked. He then travels to London, bringing along one of the catadores, to auction off one of the portraits that was created. Tiao dos Santos, one of the catadores that traveled to London with Muniz, sat amazed and emotional as the portrait of himself, made of garbage, gets auctioned off for $50,000. He cries on Muniz’s shoulders as he expresses how he appreciated what he have done for them. Isis, one of the catadores states: “This work brought me realization.” This experience has not only changed their lives, but Vik Muniz also become changed. It has impacted their creativity, insight, purpose, spirituality, and life in general. The pickers have come up with plans outside of Gramacho. With the money from the auction, they buy a truck, equipment, and build a learning center and a library. “With the help of Tiao, the president of the pickers’ cooperative ACAMJG (the Association of Recycling Pickers of Jardim Gramacho), the city will pay out more than 1,700 pickers in a lump sum of about $7,500 each now that the landfill is closed. In addition, ACAMJG has picked up contracts to process recyclables at the World Cup 2014 and secured government contracts to work at new recycling plants opening in the city. In 2010, Brazil enacted its first federal waste management law that will fund recycling plants and legally recognize garbage pickers, including more than 8,000 members of the Movimento Nacional dos Catadores de Materiais Reciclaveis (National Movement of Collectors of Recyclable Materials), where Tiao has become one of the leaders. (pbs.org). These few life changing events are some of the benefits of combining art and social practice. Combining the two engage the world and create social
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