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Life in Rio at the time of J.B.Debret

A participatory art project about Human Rights and slavery created with young high school students and 6 Cariocas graffiti painters

29 November 2020
Year :
Location :
Armazém da Utopia, Rio de Janeiro

Ever since the archaeological discovery of the Valongo site in the port area of Rio de Janeiro, the Inscrire Association wanted to carry out a project on the historical stakes of slavery in Brazil.

The idea was born in the spring of 2017, the year of the celebration of the Bicentenary of the French artistic mission in Brazil, aiming to create a monumental artwork in the city, on the façade of the “UTOPIA” warehouse on the new Olympic Boulevard.This artwork has a double theme on Human Rights and slavery. It is painted on the columns and facades of the building. The columns depict human rights paintings done by young students from municipal schools in Rio de Janeiro. The facades contain images of Jean Baptiste Debret, a great 19th-century French watercolorist and historian, revisited by 6 Cariocas painters: Aira, Afa, Gil, Metton, Lya, and Ral. The combination of styles gives an astonishing strength to this 100 meters long artwork.

Significant work was done to imagine the project consistency and define the artistic protocols for Debret’s watercolor transformations. 

The inauguration took place in the presence of the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Crivella, the French Ambassador to Brazil, Laurent Bili, the Rio Secretariat for Culture, Nilcemar Nogueira, the French Consul, Brice Rocquefeuil, and Judge Siro Darlan, the attaché for cultural and social action, Guillaume Pierre, the president of the Cdurp, Antonio Carlos Mendes Barbosa, the director of the National Historical Museum, Paulo Knauss, the consul general of Belgium Jean-Paul Charlier, journalists and many more!


Françoise Schein
Aria, Afa, Gil, Lya, Meton, Ral
Philippe Nothomb
Ana Ignacio
Moema Quintanilha
Jayro Botelho
Malu França
Rozana Lemos Lopes
Barney Lankester – Owen
Alexandre Nadai
Infrastructure des chaussées au Brésil
Versatil Serralheria constructeur Civil
Jacques Leenhardt, historien et spécialiste de Debret


Schools of Zona Norte : E.M. Pace, E.M.Jean Mermoz, E.M.Oswaldo Cruz, E.M.Pernambuco, E.M. Vinicius de Moraes, E.M. Pernambuco et the municipal daycare centre Geralda de Jesus Aleixo


Rio de Janeiro City Hall
Secretariat of Culture of Rio de Janeiro
French Consulat in Rio de Janeiro
Department of Education


MetroRio / Invepar
Cercle groupe
Porto Novo
Porto Maravilha
Utopia Storage
Consulat de Belgique


Philippe Nothomb
Françoise Schein