A colleague showed me this fascinating and beautiful book the other day – one of her favourites, and I have to say it is quite incredible, the images are haunting and astounding .
Women Are Heroes is by JR, the guerilla artist. JR creates participatory art projects that he hopes will change the world. He won the 2011 TED prize, which gives $100,000 to the recipient and one wish. JR’s wish is for art to “turn the world inside out”, celebrating the power of the individual and he is inviting people to participate in the project Inside Out.
JR turns the photographic portrait into a powerful medium for change. Pasting mural-sized portraits into urban landscapes around the world, the guerilla artist works anonymously, and often illegally, to bring a haunting human presence to harsh environments of social conflict. His photographs of the vast outdoor ‘exhibitions’ that he creates are on their way to becoming iconic; celebrating the power of the individual.
To create the project “Women” he travelled to seven countries; Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Kenya, Brazil, India and Cambodia, that have seen recent social unrest. Recognising that women often hold their communities together and are the first victims when conflict erupts, JR sought to help them tell their stories. In each country, he interviewed women about their lives, took their portraits and then incorporated these images into the fabric of their communities. Women Are Heroes explores the scope of the “Women” project and its impact. With a chapter on each of the countries JR visited, the book presents thrilling views, ranging from entire neighbourhoods to close-up images of humble walls, of the murals in place, along with more than 80 of his original photographic portraits paired with interviews. The women discuss their lives and dreams, sharing stories of adversity, survival and the desire to build a bright future.