Vik Muniz’s documentary, Waste Land, charting the lived or rubbish pickers in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro used rubbish from the sites to create portraits and copies of classic art – such as David’s Death of Marat.
Muniz worked with those people of the favelas who had stories to tell, through creativity and visualisation whilst at the same time highlighting not only the social hardships of the area but the nature of climate change and the shear amount of waste that humanity creates currently.
All the portraits and works created used recycled rubbish collected from the dumps – a comment itself – Brazil has very few municipal recycling facilities, the only way it reclaims its rubbish is by many thousands working as rubbish pickers.
Muniz is a prolific artist who has been active since the 90’s – creating appropriations of artists such as a portrait of Jackson Pollock in Bosco Syrup. Waste Land was a project that Muniz conceived of in order to widen his style of work away from singularly photography or fine art.
This documentary is definitely worth watching if you’re interested in the environment, art, or the nature of global society amongst other things.