Thursday, March 17, 2011

"What We See Changes Who We Are"

I'd like you to meet JR. JR is a semi-anonymous French photographer and artist whose work lives in the tradition of England's Banksy. JR's art, while not intentionally political, is deeply political. And social, and provocative.

JR embeds himself in neighborhoods, favelas, and villages around the world, learns the stories of the people who live there, and photographs them. Then he pastes their massive images onto local canvases like buildings, buses, trains, and bridges.

His latest global art project is called Women are Heroes. The images above are from that project. He has gone into poor villages where the women, the mothers, are the only stability in the family, and honored them in this images.
In the next set of images JR has photographed Palestinians and Jews who do the same job--taxi drivers, dentists, writers, etc.--and placed them side by side. He asks the viewer: "Can you tell who is who?"
JR believes that "guerrilla art is about provocation and pushing limits to start dialogue. It has the capacity to engage and break down barriers in ways art in galleries or museums does not. The audience is often those who are least likely to be exposed to art." http://blog.tec/com/2010/10/20/meet-jr/
JR recently gave a talk at the annual TED conference. (TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and is about "ideas worth knowing".) Conference organizers invite interesting people to give an 18-minute talk about their work. JR's talk won the 2011 TED Prize: $100,000 and an invitation to make one wish to change the world. JR's wish? "I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we'll turn the world...INSIDE OUT."

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