I Paint My Mind Revisits Oscar-Nominated WASTELAND

August 16th, 2011

At 7PM on Thursday, August 27th, I Paint My Mind, a progressive Chicago-based web magazine for the arts will be holding its first film screening at Center Portion, featuring Oscar-nominated Wasteland (2010) by Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, and João Jardim.  Brian Flannery, Executive Board Member of the Chicago non-profit shared his excitement about the documentary, which follows world-famous Brazilian artist Vik Muniz into the largest landfill in the world where 400 tons of recyclable material is collected by “pickers” and exchanged for money. 100% of proceeds from the screening are donated to the pickers.

What Muniz doesn’t anticipate is how well-adjusted the pickers are to the dirty work they do. “Picking” trumps prostitution and drug trading for the poor of Rio De Janeiro. The pickers association, lead by a young Afro-Latino named Tiaõ, lobbies for the rights of these workers. The solidarity among the pickers demonstrates their ability to overcome the challenges and dangers at Jardim Gramacho, a vast peninsula of sinking landfills and wafting methane and carbon dioxide gases. Scheduled to close in 2012, the “world’s largest trash city” is cracking at full capacity and has been leaking waste fluids into Guanabara Bay, Brazil.

Muniz is inspired by a few of the workers discussion of the controversial Italian philosopher and politician, Niccolo Machiavelli. Muniz snaps a picture of Tiaõ who envisions himself as a modern day Machiavelli or fiery French revolutionary, Jean-Paul Marat. They stage the scene from The Death Of Marat, a painting by Marat’s compatriot Jacques-Louis David, who signed the death warrant for Louis XVI in 1793. Tiaõ lies across a discarded bathtub where Marat was apparently found dead. This photograph and numerous others were projected onto a studio floor and filled in with recyclable materials collected by the pickers photographed.

At the time, the exhibition of recyclable trash portraits by Muniz at the Rio De Jeneiro Museum of Modern Art broke attendance records in Brazil, second only to Picasso in popularity.

Center Portion is a lofty Logan Square performance space, gallery, and idea-sharing venue at the intersection of art and activism. Owners of Sheila Donohue and her husband, Greg Scott ensure that donations to their non-profit space directly benefit the organizations that make use of it.

IPMM describes itself as an organically growing and sustainable web magazine and art advocacy organization. The culture and community of artists standing up for others must be as important as the art itself. IPMM claims its commitment to promoting the arts that inspire its writers and organizers, which translates into prominent filmmakers, writers, musicians, photographers, and other fine artists you might never have heard of except in the many art worlds.

Learn more about I Paint My Mind and make a donation to the pickers of Jardim Gramacho by attending Wasteland.

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