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Photos by JR
JR (born 1983 in France) is a photographer and street artist. His large scale images can be seen pasted on walls around the world. The work centres around themes like commitment, freedom, identity and limit. JR has exhibited his art at Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, Watari-Um in Tokyo, Frieder Burda Museum in Baden-Baden or Power Station of Art in Shanghai.
For more of JR's work visit jr-art.net
In Monrovia, Liberia, when JR posted the pictures of local women, the reactions were immediate, raw, and sometimes brutal. People were asking lots of questions. Why faces? Why women? Did they do something special? Why here? What does it mean? Why is it in black and white, don’t they have colours in France? Are these women all dead? Those who understood shared it with the others. The women asked JR to send a message in a bottle, not to write it. They asked for a single promise “make my story travel with you”.
These Cambodian women were fighting to hold onto their houses in the Day Krahorn slum on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The city was experiencing a real estate boom in which rents sored and many new buildings were constructed. The women JR meet were fighting the city and government authorities and the developers, trying to keep themselves and their families from being expelled and “relocated” in some place they don’t know, often very far from the city center.
In January 2009, 2000 square meters of rooftops in Kibera, Kenya, were covered with photos of local women. Most of the women had their own photos on their own rooftop. The material was water resistant so the photo itself protectde the fragile houses in the heavy rain season. With photos of the eyes pasted on the train, the bottom half of the their faces were pasted on corrugated sheets on the slope that leads down from the tracks to the rooftops. The idea being that for the split second the train passes, their eyes matched their smiles and their faces were complete.