Vik Muniz was born into a working-class family in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1961. As a young man he was shot in the leg while trying to break up a fight. He used the money he received as compensation for his injuries to fund a trip to New York City, where he has lived and worked since the late 1980s.
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, Muniz has used dirt, diamonds, sugar, string, chocolate syrup and garbage to create bold, witty and often deceiving images drawn from the pages of photojournalism and art history.
His work has been met with both commercial success and critical acclaim, and has been exhibited worldwide. His solo show at MAM in Rio de Janeiro was second only to Picasso in attendance records. It was here that Muniz first exhibited his "Pictures of Garbage Series," which was created from trash scavenged from the world's largest dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and was featured in the 2010 documentary, Waste Land. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and has won prizes in numerous domestic and foreign film festivals, including the Audience Award for Best World Cinema Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.