The Face of the World

JR, 28 Millimeters, Women Are Heroes Action dans la Favela Morro da Providência, Escalier, Rio de Janeiro, Brésil, 2008
JR, 28 Millimeters, Women Are Heroes
Action dans la Favela Morro da Providência, Escalier, Rio de Janeiro, Brésil, 2008

JR, a street artist who spoke at TED 2011, has always been a non-traditional artist. In his TED talk he describes some of his original work, claiming that he posted it in the streets “confronting it directly with the public.” This idea, that an artist would bypass traditional museum culture and take his work directly to the streets seems quite revolutionary, especially considering that JR was based in Paris–the city of the museums. But even more than that, JR wants to change the world with art.  One of his most influential projects, entitled “Women are Heroes”, is known across the world. JR decided to take the faces of some of the most overlooked people in the world, women, and paste them onto the side of buildings, or in the case of Kibera, Kenya, onto the roofs of people’s houses. (What is particularly powerful about this, is that if you search for Kibera, Kenya on google maps and look at the satellite picture, the women of Kibera stare up at you.) JR is a fascinating artist, and one who will probably continue to challenge traditional boundaries and make good art. When asked why he was doing what he was doing, if he was the media, or an NGO, JR replied “Art. Just art.” But JR’s art isn’t just art. JR understands that art can change how we see the world, and he is using it to help us to see our world.

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