The Center for Social Justice & Civil Liberties presents Lucy Walker’s award-winning 2010 documentary Waste Land on Thursday, July 3, as part of the Riverside First Thursday Artswalk. The film will be screened at 6:00 PM and again at 7:45 PM in the Center’s media vault. This event is free and open to the public. The Artswalk film series continues on August 7 with The Cats of Mirikitani and on September 4 with Chicano Rock!: The Sounds of East Los Angeles.
Waste Land follows Brooklyn-based, Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz back to Brazil on a project exploring Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Gramacho (“Garbage Garden”) and its trash-pickers (los catadores). Jardim Gramacho, closed in 2012, was one of the world’s largest open-air landfills, where over a thousand people made a living recycling Rio’s garbage. Muniz travels to the landfill with the intent to take photographic portraits of the catadores, and ends up collaborating with them to craft their own images out of garbage. The trash of millions of people becomes transformative art, and the catadores see themselves in a new light.
The Artswalk film series highlights films that examine the intersection of art and social justice. This film is especially pertinent given recent controversies over this summer’s World Cup and FIFA’s presence in Brazil. 850 catadores have been recruited and trained to collect garbage in the stadiums during the games, and the building of a stadium in Rio took precedence over the preservation of a historic neighborhood structure. The film raises questions of what exactly is disposable, and informs current discussions of the rights and relevance of the people and places kept hidden behind grand gestures of social transformation.
This blog post was contributed by volunteer Danielle Kuffler.