“What I wanted to do is change the lives of a group of people. With the material they deal with everyday.” – Vik Muniz

As the popular saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” the documentary WASTE LAND speaks volume about transforming the everyday waste into a valuable piece of art. Following the journey of Brooklyn-base Vik Muniz as he retreats back to his hometown Brazil, visiting the largest dump in the world, Jardim Gramacho, located in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

Living in Jakarta, many of us understand and have noticed the equal effort it takes to manage the endless amount of waste in the capital. Piling becomes the inevitable causing deliberate stench and environmental issues. While the piling may be the detested outcome of the limited waste space available, it is the people who scavenge their way through these trash which we often forget about. Vik Muniz, makes a blunt approach to personally learn about what they call as “catadores” – pickers of recycle materials. He takes his time to learn about these ranging characters and place them in the lime light by photographing and expanding the size into great proportion with the garbage being the pieces which mark their existence.

With what Vik Muniz has materialized with the pile of garbage will only make you realize how the smallest things can bring a greater impact to you and your surroundings. WASTE LAND is an endearing tale of empowerment and life value.

– Athina Ibrahim

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