Photographer, activist and recent TED award recipient JR, is changing lives as much as possible with his craft. “Women Are Heroes” is one part of the “28 Millimetres: Portrait of a Generation” project, and its main aim is to capture the portraits of marginalised and abused women, ignited by their unique spirit and beauty. These images are enlarged to billboard sizes then fixed to outdoor structures like walls, stairs and roofs to create a free for all art gallery in the communities of those women and sometimes, elsewhere.
Though empowering and forward thinking–JR’s guerilla exhibitions are unlawful–however he hasn’t let that stop the progress of this remarkable project.
In describing this portion of the 28 Millimetre project, the 28mm Women’s official website states:
The Women project wants to underline their pivotal role and to highlight their dignity by shooting them in their daily lives and posting them on the walls of their country. On the other hand, by posting the same images of these women in Western countries, the project allows everyone to feel concerned by their condition and connects, through art, the two different worlds.
Thus far, JR has shot women in war torn areas of Africa, including Sierra Leone, South-Sudan, Liberia and Kenya– where women are typically prime targets for oppression and abuse. Currently JR is visiting with women of the Brazilian Favelas, where a similar life of constant violence and arbitrary repression is experienced as norm.
Besides the notable work JR is doing, I love that this is an example of how Modern Art can transcend the pay check. Art, to me has never been something limited to attractive visuals, but has been what those visuals do, and the purpose they serve. While entertainment is the obvious and most profitable choice, art can overstep that boundary and be a vehicle for change, or even just the memo. JR’s work is inspiring to me, and I have no doubt that it will inspire others.