An ex-graffiti artist, 26, who goes by "JR" is traveling the world for a project: taking portraits of women affected by poverty and violence, and then pasting blown-up prints all over their cities.
So far, JR has shot in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the favela of Morro da Providência, Brazil for the project he calls "Women Are Heroes." He then sticks his pictures to the sides of buses, trains, buildings, and pavement, transforming the towns in which these women live into testaments to their strength and forbearance. Part art, part advocacy campaign, JR collaborates with Doctors Without Borders. And all the images the self-taught photographer captures with his 28mm camera are transfixing.
Pictures of the sites are then included in JR's exhibits — last year, he hit up the Tate Modern in London, and this year he'll be showing in Paris — in what the artist says is his attempt to show that women around the world are all connected.
Previously, the artist worked on a project called Face 2 Face, where he took portraits of Israelis and Palestinians, and posted them on opposite sides of the effective borders.
Intended to underscore the similarities between the two groups of people, the project spawned a number of international exhibitions, and a book.
Like Banksy with a social conscience to match his street-art trickster wiles, JR plans to work more on Women Are Heroes by traveling to countries including India, Laos and Cambodia this year. We wish him well.