JR’s ‘Inside Out’ Project Draws Attention to the Humanity of All People

Brooklyn, NEW YORK—A building in Dumbo is plastered with a series of big, black-and-white head shots. The diverse portraits are a part of Inside Out, a global project created by French artist JR.

Over the past five years, JR has canvased marginalized communities around the world with gigantic images of local people. His photographs reveal the joy, beauty, sorrow and, most importantly, the humanity of his subjects. The artist and his team use ladders and brooms to paste the portraits on favela roof tops in Rio, slums in Nairobi and the wall separating Palestine from Israel.

The projects explore issues of freedom and human rights, and raise questions. Once the photographs are displayed (they are usually pasted up overnight), JR disappears leaving the members of the community—co-participants in the projects—to explain the installations and therefore speak for themselves. As a result, the artist had remained largely anonymous.

But in March 2011, JR won the TED prize and he took the stage to accept the honor. During his talk, he explained his wish to use art to “turn the world inside out.”

Anyone can visit the Inside Out website, upload a photo of themselves and receive a poster in return to hang in their community. The participatory art project intends to share the stories of people around the world through their images.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to participate. 101 people were a part of We DUMBO.

All photos by Arts Observer

The portraits are pasted on a brick building at the corner of John and Adams streets in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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