Morrinho is a cultural project and multi-faceted NGO (non-governmental organization) based out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Morrinho itself is a 300m2 model situated in a favela, or hillside squatter community, in the south zone of Rio. Started by local youth in 1997, it is a small-scale model of the city constructed from bricks and other recycled materials. Within this miniature urban world, participants also play a role-playing game recreating life in Rio's favelas.
The NGO has created a point of reference that challenges the popular perception of Rio’s favelas as dominated by drug trafficking and violence, precisely by putting a mirror to that reality through role-playing. Currently, more than 20 teenagers are following in the example of the original group. Seeking to build continuity with this new generation of youth, we organize courses in audiovisual media, languages, computing, theater, and handicraft.
The unique character and innovation of the Morrinho model has recently been recognized by curators and critics as a legitimate expression of contemporary art, and it has drawn considerable international attention from journalists, architects, musicians, scholars, and tourists.
Smaller scale replicas of the model have been exhibited throughout Brazil and Europe, including the Urban World Forum in Barcelona (2004), Point Ephémère in Paris (2005), and the Venice Biennale (2007). And after seven years chronicling the history of the Morrinho and the lives of its creators, filmmakers Fábio Gavião and Markão Oliveira recently released a full-length documentary titled "Morrinho: God Knows Everything But Is Not a Snitch."
TV Morrinho also serves as a center for original video productions that derive from the model. One of our projects has recently won a grant from the Ministry of Culture to expand our capacity to reach local youth, but this funding will nonetheless be insufficient for our needs and aspirations.