While most people watching the 83rd Academy Awards tonight will be focused on Natalie Portman, her baby bump and whether she takes home the Oscar for Black Swan, I’ll be watching out for the nominees for Best Art Direction and Best Documentary. In particular, the feature-length documentary Waste Land. Co-directors João Jardim and Karen Harley have created a moving look at the power of art to transform people’s lives and the environment.
“Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an band of “catadores”— pickers of recyclable materials.
Muniz’s objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives.”
If Waste Land isn’t in theaters in your city, it will be on Netflix soon.
[All photography by Vik Muniz, courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio]