JR’s art isn’t meant to be hung in an ornate frame in a museum or gallery. For more than a decade, the street artist has printed poster-sized photographs and pasted them on city walls to dramatic effect, always with a social point in mind. JR has pasted images of the teens living in housing projects on the streets of Paris, and tiled images of Israelis and Palestinians side-by-side on Israel’s separation barrier. In 2008, he dotted cityscapes of Brazil, India, France, Kenya and Cambodia with haunting portraits of women’s eyes.
In 2011, JR was selected for the TED Prize and was granted $100,000 to enact one wish to inspire the world. His wish, as described in this moving TEDTalk: that people around the globe have a chance to show the world their true face. And thus he founded Inside Out, a worldwide participatory art project whereby anyone can take a photograph, upload it to the website, and have a poster-sized version sent to them in the mail, to be pasted in their own community. As of today, over 100,000 posters have been printed through the project and pasted in over 110 countries globally.
The scene above can be seen in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Sending in this image to Inside Out, the creators of the mural explained the meaning behind their project. “We want to show a traditional community of Brazil in the metropolitan of Belo Horizonte. They form a group of the black resistance to slavery in Brazil and they survive by performing at its traditional festivals,” they say. “The community named Irmandade do Rosário de Justinópolis is in the city of Ribeirão and stands out because of poverty and urban violence.”
Below, check out seven more recent Inside Out projects.
Inside Out is very excited to have recently shipped these images to Beijing. The project organizers wrote, “Youth is the future. Through the eyes of the young adults from Taiwan and the Mainland, we may see the possible future relationship across the strait.”
In this short documentary uploaded in April, members of Armidale Australia’s native aboriginal community, explain why they wanted to be a part of Inside Out. Watch as they paste up posters by the light of sparklers.
This recent large-scale action in Charleroi, Belgium, focuses on the power of the smile.
Inside Out was excited to recently receive this image of posters on the streets of South Korea , featuring residents of North Korea.
Despite being behind bars, these 15 women incarcerated in prison in Medellin, Colombia, became part of the project. In this video uploaded in June, see who they are — and what they plan to do when they’re released.
This brick wall in Newburg, New York, was recently decorated with posters. The team behind the project explains, “We want to celebrate the people of the city of Newburgh, who live with hope, determination, courage and faith to meet the challenges of a community laden with poverty and crime, and support each other to rise above.”
This week, Inside Out shipped over 100 posters to Managua, Nicaragua, for a project focusing on residents there. The organizers write, “Despite past wars, dictatorships, earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes, Nicaraguans take every opportunity to smile, smile, smile and smile.”
While JR was awarded $100,000 for his TED Prize project, this year the cash prize has been raised to $1 million. And the deadline to nominate someone is quickly approaching. From now until August 31, head to the TED Prize nominations page to recommend a mentor, idol, colleague, teacher, parent, friend — even yourself — for the 2013 TED Prize. We are looking high and low for a visionary leader with a beautiful, actionable wish and know that you, the TED community, will be an invaluable source for inspiring ideas.