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Art Hits the Streets of Sao Paolo's <em>Favelas</em>

street art

In January, Boa Mistura, a hyperactive cooperative of Spanish artists that call themselves “graffiti rockers,” completed an eye-popping public art project in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Working with residents of Vila Brasilândia, one of the city's favelas, the artists transformed the walls, stairs, and pathways of the slum’s meandering alleys with vivid paint and positive words that appear to float, suspended above the ground like massive, pleasant thought-bubbles.

Slideshow: Best Cities for Street Art

As the country prepares to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, there has been talk of tearing down some favelas and relocating residents to housing more secure and less embarrassing to the government.

Which solution do you think is best? Tear down the favelas as dangerous eyesores or transform them, with the help of the residents and fluorescent colors, into art-filled destinations and sources of civic pride?

street art

street art

street art

(Back in 2006, a pair of Dutch artists started other large-scale favela painting projects in Rio. See them here.)

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photos courtesy of Boa Mistura.

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