Vik Muniz

© UNESCO/Ania Freindorf
Mr. Vik Muniz, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

Vik Muniz, a famous Brazilian contemporary artist exposing in some of the most influential museums in the world such as the MoMa, was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in May 2011.

Mr Muniz was named in recognition of his contribution, through his artistic career, towards social development and his use of art education for social inclusion and sustainability.

He began his career as a sculptor but gradually became more interested in photographic reproductions of his work, eventually turning his attention exclusively to photography. He incorporates a multiplicity of unlikely materials into this photographic process. Often working in series, Mr Muniz has used dirt, diamonds, sugar, string, chocolate syrup and garbage to create bold and often deceiving images drawn from the pages of photojournalism and art history. Through the use of common materials, he tries to make art more accessible to all.


Mr Muniz presented a selection of his works during his exhibition "Reflections on Life and Art: Air, Ashes and Trash" at UNESCO Headquarters, on 16 November 2018, as part of the celebrations of World Philosophy Day. In addition to questioning the environmental impact of waste in our societies, Vik Muniz questions the philosophical nature of art.


The documentary Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker and awarded at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, starred Muniz’s work on his project Pictures of Garbage (2008). For this project he used recyclable materials from Jardim Gramacho, one of the world’s largest landfill in the world close to Rio de Janeiro.

Through his career and humanitarian commitment, he has made an important contribution towards education and social development, as part of his international career, and more specifically in Brazil.

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