The “Marvelous City”, as Rio de Janeiro is affectionately called, finds itself in the world’s gaze like never before as host of the 2016 Olympic Games. While preparations for the games press ahead, there are many inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro that risk being overlooked: Tens of thousands of people who have historically called Rio’s favelas home.
Marc Ohrem-Leclef’s project Olympic Favela visualizes the effects of forced removal of residents in 14 of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games.
It consists of two types of photographic portraiture: The first consists of environmental portraits of the residents, photographed in front of their homes, which have been designated for removal by SMH with spray-painted code numbers. The second type is directed imagery of residents posing with flaming emergency torches in their communities. In these photographs the residents are no longer passive subjects, but rather active figures embracing the opportunity to represent their community, their struggle, and their resistance.
The final chapter of the project, now in it’s fourth year, takes the form of a moving-image portrait of the residents, their communities and the land they call home. The video will premiere as part of the exhibition.
The book of photographs, “Olympic Favela”, was published by Damiani/ ARTbook in 2014, and named ‘best of 2014’ by American Photo Magazine. Select works from the series have also been shown at Museo de Arte do Rio (MAR), PRC Gallery at Boston University and featured on BBC, ARTnews, Der Spiegel, and Slate.
This is the first comprehensive exhibition of the photographs and video work relating to Olympic Favela.
Marc Ohrem-Leclef was born in Dusseldorf, Germany. After studying Communication Design at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences in Germany he relocated to New York City in 1998. Ohrem-Leclef’s visual arts practice centers on immersive portraits of communities—whether they are formed by bloodlines, social circumstance, or cultural movements. Ohrem-Leclef’s work has been exhibited in Germany, Brazil and the U.S..