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Morrinho: Art in the Favela

The favelas of Rio, ramshackle squatter quarters on muddy hillsides, are best known for intractable poverty and violence. A shining exception within Favela do Pereirao in Santa Teresa  is the Morrinho Project. Started in 1998 by then 14-year-old Nelcirlan Souza, it’s favela-as-Legoland, a miniature world using bricks and actual Lego pieces to represent dope dealers, BOPE Swat teams and gone-wrong cocaine deals. It’s morphed from boy’s fantasy to full-fledged game to outsider art project, spawning a documentary film, an NGO and an exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2007. But visit with Matuete, since it’s still remarkably edgy on those mean streets. $87 per person plus transportation. Matuete.com

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