Siro Darlan: Lixo Extraordinário

Rio – The artist Vik Muniz made us reflect deeply by showing us how to turn lemons into lemonade.  After being shot in the leg, Vik was compensated for the misfortune by his assailant, which he then used to try his luck in the US.  There he sought to make a living with what was possible.

Working as a janitor for a mall parking lot, Vik discovered the value of trash and dedicated himself to making art out of recycled material.  He then ended up becoming one of the most recognized artists on the planet as well as ending up quite wealthy.

It would be commonplace to forget one’s humble origins and enjoy the new rich life in the land that recognized his talents and handsomely remunerated him.  But this is not that story.  Looking to expand his art, Vik went searching for inspiration at the Dump Gramacho, Caixas in Brazil, where he found people and trash.  They were so intermingled, it was difficult to discern who was what.

But yet again, the sensibilities of the artist who uses trash as his main media prevailed.  He also made the men and the women working in recycling his key partners.

The film itself is a work of art, in which Vik transforms waste into wealth, and humans shunned by society, into artists for life.  There are scenes of philosophies so rich in simple and illiterate people, which leads us to believe that true wisdom is in simplicity.

For the artist to go where his people are and make them the protagonists of their own stories is a cause for reflection for those who live in a world marked by selfishness and a lack of solidarity.  From this  waste emerges the the most beautiful lilies of humanity.  Poets, writers, philosophers, readers of War and Peace, The Prince and Machiavelli found in the trash, serve to illustrate minds that were once empty and waited for a gesture of solidarity and hope.

Not only is the trash extraordinary, but the film (Lixo Extraordinário) that carries the name is as well.  It presents us with a strong realization that the only formula for happiness resides in solidarity and the appreciation of people who respect your boundaries and recognize your qualities, giving opportunities for the artists, professionals, and thinkers there to allow our country to grow.  Thanks, Vik Muniz, for your art and your lesson in solidarity.

Siro Darlan is the judge of the Court of Rio de Janeiro
(Translated from Portuguese by Diego Camposeco)