Can Art Change the World?

Parisian photographer and street artist "JR" has undertaken many projects that have spanned the planet, using giant billboard sized monochromatic photographs in unexpected places, in positions of high visibility.

He started out as a graffiti artist in Paris, but after finding a camera on the Metro, began taking photographs documenting his friends painting graffiti on the rooftops and walls of the city..

He now mixes the two mediums of photography and graffiti, calling himself a "photograffeur", posting giant black and white photographs in public places.

His "Face 2 Face" project was dubbed "the largest illegal photo exhibition in the world" in which the border wall which runs the length of the disputed area between Israel and Palestine became a gallery of giant portraits of Jews and Palestinians of all denominations and types, grinning and pulling faces into the camera and posted side by side along large stretches of the wall.

Part of this is a giant triptych of a rabbi, a priest and an immam wearing intentionally comic expressions. The message is simple but powerful: there is far more that unites humanity than that which divides it. "It’s about breaking down barriers," JR says. "With humour, there is life."

His more recent "Women are Heroes" project took him to meet, work with and photograph women in slums and war-torn, poverty stricken communities across the world, using art as a medium to reaffirm the positive, creative side of humanity.

"They keep on asking you: what is the purpose of your project? Are you an NGO? are you the media? … Art. Just an artist…
Some who understood the project will explain it to others: to a man who did not understand I heard someone said:
"You know, You’ve been here for a few hours trying to understand this thing with your fellows. During that time, you haven’t think about what you’re going to eat tomorrow. This is art."

"Women are Heroes" created a new dynamic in each of the communities and the women kept that dynamic after we left. For example, we created book, not for sale, but that all the community would get but to get it they would have to make it signed by one of the women…

Its really important point to me is that I don’t use any brands or corporate sponsor, so I have no responsibility to anyone but myself and the sisters…
They made me promise… please, make our story travel with you…so I did…look… that’s Paris, that’s Rio… that’s London… New York…"

His latest project is one that everyone can participate in:
"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.

When we act together, the whole thing is more than the sum of the parts.
So I hope that together we will create something that the world will remember, and this starts right now, and depends on you."

Use the link below to find out how you can participate.

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