Public Engagement


Maré from the Inside/Maré de Dentro

Maré from the Inside (Maré de Dentro) is an interactive visual and textual exhibit developed through the collaboration of Brazilian and U.S.-based artists, activists, and academics. It offers rarely captured views into the lives of residents in Complexo da Maré, a group of 16 contiguous favelas (informal and impoverished working-class neighborhoods) in Rio de Janeiro. Maré from the Inside is comprised of 30 family portraits, 26 street photographs, 4 interviews with select photographed families, and 3 documentary films. The exhibit demonstrates the diversity and creativity of the citizens of these communities while exposing the barriers favela residents confront in their everyday lives. In doing so, Maré from the Inside challenges long-standing and powerful stigmatizing narratives and suggests the need for a fresh set of political and cultural strategies capable of breaking the cycles of exclusion and marginalization experienced by favela communities. Click the links below to see photographs of the exhibit and check out the virtual exhibit here.


Maré from the Inside: Art, Culture and Politics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, co-edited by Nicholas Barnes (University of St Andrews), Desiree Poets (Virginia Tech), and Max Stephenson Jr. (Virginia Tech), is a companion to the exhibition of the same name (Portuguese: Maré de Dentro). The book features a selection of the exhibition’s photographs by Italian photo-journalist Antonello Veneri, who worked closely with Maré resident and activist Henrique Gomes over the period of 2013 to 2019, during which Rio was home to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. These photographs, simultaneously personal and deeply humane, demonstrate the diversity and resilience of the residents of these communities.

Essays by the exhibition’s creators, curators and collaborators, including Maré resident and scholar Andreza Jorge, provide context to the photographs. Jorge’s essay asks what it is about the Maré from the Inside exhibition that has made it so compelling for so many people from very different parts of the world. The answer lies in its innate power; that is, the power of art it both embodies and represents, to encourage those who encounter it to rethink their prevailing social frames and, in turn, embrace fresh political and cultural strategies for integrating previously marginalized communities more fully into political and social life.

Maré from the Inside is published for the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance by Virginia Tech Publishing. In order to reach the widest possible readership, the book is available both as a freely downloadable PDF eBook and an affordable paperback edition. Information on both can be found at The book will also shortly be available in Portuguese.