“It’s nicer to reach places where there is no art. I don’t want to be where everyone is. I want to be where there is no one and make the new happen”, said Erico Bomfim, 38 years old. He is the creator of the Morro de Arte project that, with the support of the Secretary of Culture of Santos, on the coast of São Paulo, has been spreading art through the Morros da Penha, Pacheco and José Menino.
To g1, Bomfim said that the idea came about after spending some time working in Rio de Janeiro and realizing that the hills there were valued and lavished art. “I came up with this inspiration. The hills are painted, beautiful, have an artistic thing and it works. Here, the hills of Santos only have drugs and shooting, that’s all you see”, he lamented.
After a few years with this idea, the artist decided to write an edict, which was presented in 2021, and began to be executed this year. Bomfim called artists Leonardo Leite, Gabi Mirandas and Hugo Leal to join him in his mission to bring art to the city’s hills.
Despite having created the Morro de Arte, he says he left all the artists free to create their own creations, according to the artistic language of each one. For him, the biggest inspiration was the community itself and the moments he is experiencing during the project.
Morro de Arte Project is being carried out in Morros da Penha, Pacheco and José Menino, in Santos, SP — Photo: Rosana Anjos
According to Bomfim, the objective is to show that the community is not just a violent place with excluded people, but a place where they can find entertainment. In addition, he seeks to make the space more beautiful and find new artists.
“The community is needy. So as an artist, you end up achieving more. It’s a sincere exchange, it’s not self-serving. ‘Oh, I want art to decorate the place for people to take a selfie’, they’re really happy about that. Art ends up playing the role it has to play in the community, as a transforming agent,” he said.
A wall in Morro da Penha bears the name of all the children in the community — Photo: Rosana Anjos
Among many remarkable moments during the Morro de Arte, Bomfim highlighted two situations that marked him. According to the artist, in Morro da Penha there were many children who wanted to participate. So he decided to teach. There are several houses painted by them and named after all the children in the community.
“It’s that belonging thing. This square is mine, it belongs to my community, and my name will be there. But his name is there, not in the form of graffiti, it’s in the form of art. I looked and thought: ‘Wow, I taught them something’, this is something that stays and marks a lot”.
In Morro do José Menino, when Bomfim arrived to paint, the community itself quickly mobilized. The artist said he arrived the next day to continue and people were painting their own houses. “They understood the project”, he concluded.
Check out photos of the project below:
Project took art to some hills of Santos, SP — Photo: Rosana Anjos
Erico Bomfim, 38, aims to show that the community is not just a violent place — Photo: Rosana Anjos
Erico Bomfim, Leonardo Leite, Gabi Mirandas and Hugo Leal got together to spread art through the hills of Santos, SP — Photo: Rosana Anjos