Women are Heroes
Street artist JR has used Paris as his canvas for “Women Are Heroes”, the latest instalment of his 28 Millimetre project.
Having presented his portraits of oppressed female subjects – the victims of war, abuse or discrimination – in Brazil, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, India, Belgium and the UK, JR is finally bringing all of his work together for the French exhibit.
Displayed on the bridges and walls along the Seine, you could almost miss JR’s work as you pass by. Such is the scale of these photographic murals; they’re actually best viewed from the opposite bank of the river. Enormous and magnificent pairs of eyes stare out from the brickwork, a reclining girl rests her head on some footpath steps, her legs extending beneath the adjacent bridge. The French artist is using these visually impressive works to promote his full exhibition at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Paris.
Following “Portraits of a Generation”, inspired by events in the suburbs of Paris, and “Face 2Face”, which was displayed in the Middle East, “Women” is the third phase of the 28 Millimetre project.
The name refers to the wide-angle lens that requires the photographer to be only centimetres from his subject in order to take the portrait. JR travelled the world to meet his models and convince them to take part in his project. He portrays those who exist on the edge of society, highlighting their plight through his edgy and intimate portraits and instillations.
In the UK, JR will always draw comparisons to Banksy, yet his work is more internationally focused and his long-running preoccupation with women’s aid marks him out from his contemporaries.
JR is all about challenging the established. Using unusual spaces to showcase his work, he can reach a much wider audience than a traditional gallery presentation would allow. And, in doing so, he’s able to deal with subjects widely discussed in the media in an innovative manner. With a fresh pair of eyes, so to speak.
The exhibition will remain in Paris until the 2nd of November. The accompanying book (in English & French) tells the story, comprising ten countries and four continents, of how JR’s “Women” came to be – and if you can’t make it to Paris you can grab a copy of the book from Crakedz. It’s a coffee table must!
Images: © jr-