. . .

taking over the world

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Guerrilla photographic artist JR has just won the 2011 TED Prize of $100,000USD. This is an awesome coup for artists sending a message to the world through alternative routes to that of established art galleries. As well as for people who may not necessarily be extremely well-known.

JR is an anonymous photographic artist who illegally pastes massively large-scale photographs of everyday people from adversely affected communities, all over city walls (including images of everyday Palestinians in Israel and vice versa). They are often funny, sometimes quietly shocking, always thought-provoking, never small. The TED Prize an amazing, annual prize which honours one individual who is changing the world and can change it even more, especially with the financial and networking help of that prize. One reason JR shows his work in guerrilla fashion is to make the point that art should be accessible to everyone, not just placed in the often elite vacuum of established galleries.  The subject matter and the execution in showing it then make us ask powerful questions about how we perceive the world through aesthetic filters, particularly the worlds of violence, political unrest, adversity and gender, economic and social poverty.  He had an international guerrilla exhibition two years ago, pasting up massive photos – in war-torn areas as well as affluent Western locations – of women from war-torn areas going about their daily business of supporting themselves, their families and their communities, in the midst of chaos. It was about women’s phenomenal ability to survive and maintain life in the face of war and violence; for their own sake, for that of their children and families, for the sake of others’ children and families and all (very often) in areas where they are already disadvantaged because of their sex. He called it Women Are Heroes. Total legend.

Jamie Oliver won the 2010 TED Prize last year and Bill Clinton has won it in the past. These are just two of many well-known figures to do so. That an anonymous guerrilla photographic artist who may be well-known in some art circles but is not well-known en masse has won this huge and well-respected prize is a testament to TED’s dedication to not just the great and good who are obviously well-educated, privileged and politically, culturally or financially influential, but also those possibly less well-known or privileged but equally as powerful regardless. Love TED even more now.

*See also the trailer for Women Are Heroes here. It’s long and some stories in it are pretty disturbing but it’s so good and you HAVE to check out the little kid dancing at 1.23mins. Truly awesome;)

(thanks Lee for the link. You are just as inspiring you know).


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