It all began in Paris where he pasted large close up portraits of young people growing up in the Parisian housing projects and pasted them on Champs-Élysées and other bourgeois corners in Paris… JR says he only had a 28mm lens at that time so he had to stand really close to the photographed person and create mutual trust with them. This project called “Portraits of a Generation” made a huge impact and JR decided to continue in other countries as well.
For example he went to Israel to see on his own whether Israelis and Palestinians are so much different from each other. He took portraits of Israelis and Palestinians doing the same job, like a taxi driver or a lawyer and he had them make a face. Then he pasted the photos next to each other. Most of the people couldn’t tell an Israeli apart from a Palestinian… JR was being told from all sides that it’s impossible to paste these portraits on Israeli-Palestinian Wall. He says that not only it was possible, it was actually quite easy and most of the posters are still in place, untouched.
JR continued to Africa with a project “Women Are Heroes”, in which he highlights the dignity of women who are often targets during conflicts. He has been to Middle East and to Brazilian favelas…
At the end of his speech, JR comes to a conclusion that art can’t change the world… Can’t change the circumstances, BUT can create energy and change the perception, which actually makes art a neutral space to exchange the ideas.
And now he’s asking for our help to take the world Inside Out. He asking us to take a close up black and white portrait of a person (could be even yourself) whose story you’d like to share. JR will send you a poster in return. You should paste the poster on a place where it can have an impact.
And here is how Bushwick comes into play. Little Skips, a local art/creativity/hang out/caffeine spot is coordinating Bushwick group to participate in this global art project. Henry Glucroft from Little Skips says that you should find a person living in Bushwick whose story you’d like to share, take a close up black and white portrait of them and upload it to JR’s website Insideout. Use the Bushwick group when uploading the photo and type in the address of Little Skips 941 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11221 as the shipping address for the poster. You can donate $20 in the process, so please do if you can. Make sure to email Little Skips once you have completed the process at [email protected].
Join us and let’s see if Bushwick can make difference too!