Exhibition inspired by Flickr photos of Brazil slums

  • @matildbattersby

Photographs of children in Brazilian shanty towns posted on Flickr have inspired a new exhibition by British artist Jonathan Darby.

Darby came across photographs by Gregory J. Smith on the photo sharing website after Smith posted them to raise awareness for his charity which rescues Sao Paolo street kids, Children At Risk Foundation (CARF).

“The photos were very intimate and personal portraits,” Darby said. “On Flickr the images have notes telling you about the children. I found it really inspiring.”

After following Smith’s Flickr stream, Darby was discovered that several of the children in the photographs had since died.

The Central St Martins graduate decided, with just three months to prepare, to make a completely new body of work representing the children in the photographs for his exhibition at the Signal Gallery in London to raise awareness for CARF.

"People know that the situation for children in Brazil is bad. But I don't really think they know quite how bad it really is. And these pictures show them that."

He worked around the clock to produce eleven large-scale paintings and to construct a fully furnished Favela installation inside the gallery to provide an authentic setting for his portraits.

“I had a bit of a spurt from New Year’s day until 10 March. I worked solidly without a break. No days off. No television. I basically signed my life over to it,” he said.

The paintings on wooden board and metal of large-eyed children are extremely affecting. Just a week after the exhibition opened more than half have been sold.

A slideshow of Smith’s photographs accompanies the exhibit and 35 limited edition prints of ‘Giclee’ are also on sale with all proceeds going to CARF.

‘Favela’ is at Signal Gallery, Shoreditch until 2 April 2011, www.signalgallery.com

For more information about CARF visit www.carfweb.net

Jonathan Darby 'FAVELA' Teaser from Jonathan Darby on Vimeo.