TURNING THE WORLD INSIDE OUT
Can art change the world? Last March JR, the internationally active French street artist, was awarded the TED Prize and as part of the award ceremony shared an audacious wish with the public: “I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project and together we’ll turn the world…INSIDE OUT.”
Since then, he’s launched the INSIDEOUT Project, a global art project coordinated through a website on which anyone can upload a digital image of himself, tell the world about what he stands for and have his portrait made into a large-scale black and white poster. This poster is printed and sent back to you and can be placed anywhere, from a solitary image in an office window to a wall of portraits on an abandoned building or a full stadium.
A recent, great example of how INSIDEOUT is making a positive difference is the transformative group action that recently took place in Cape Town, South Africa. High school students from Hangberg’s Cape Coloured community were paired with learners from the Imizamo Yethu’s Xhosa (Black African) community. Although they attend the same school and their communities are neighboring, racism between the two sides is rampant. Instructed by the notable South African photographers Hasan and Husain, they took each other’s portraits to participate in the INSIDEOUT Project. The week leading up to Mandela Day, they posted their portraits on each others’ homes and in each others’ communities to showcase the beauty and shared values they found in their new friends. In addition, large-scale versions of the portraits were created by JR and pasted throughout various communities in Cape Town.
So, can art change the world? As the South African example suggests, it can definitely make a positive difference. Whether this positive difference is enough to change the whole world is a question I think everybody needs to answer for himself. The artist himself says: “I am not trying to change the world, but when I see a smile up there in the Favelas or down there in Cambodia, in a way I feel like I’ve achieved my goal.”
(Watch the whole interview)
Be Inspired And…
- Participate in INSIDEOUT! Upload a portrait. Receive a poster. Paste it for the world to see.