The Biggest Art Gallery in the World

In a broad sense, my two goals in life are to support the arts and help underprivileged children. I'm mentioning this, because I'm taking a class called "Artist's Role In Society" with Reed Anderson to learn about how other artists in the past and present are influencing the world. Some artist don't like the idea of being categorized as social activist per say, but for me it's really important. My parents are refugees from Cambodia, and throughout my life they've instilled me with images of their past, which aren't very pleasant. This past summer I had the opportunity to visit Cambodia for the second time in 10 years. It was a life changing experience for me. It's one thing to see other children living in poverty, but to see my own nephews and nieces going with so little breaks my heart. The one image I'll never be able to get out of my head is when I took my cousins to this carnival place and bought them some food from a vendor. After we were done eating, a couple of street kids swarmed our scraps and ate whatever they could off of the bones.

I'm sort of backtracking, but when we left the carnival place to go back to the hotel, there were these huge wheat-pasted images of woman's eyes on the side of the road by an artist named JR, who I didn't know about until we recently covered him in Reed Anderson's class. Before he was a photographer, JR was a graffiti artist. He realized that his work only communicated to other writers and not to the greater street audience. However, on one faithful day JR happened to find a camera on the Paris subway, which he taught himself to use. He now enlarges these images to billboard sizes and pastes them in the streets of the world. I think JR provides something that no amount of money can provide. From experience, I know that when you photograph people living in extreme poverty they rarely smile. Mostly because a lot of them have never had their picture taken before. However, JR encourages his subjects to make faces, and when they do, he can see the revival of life, hope, and joy in their eyes. He then takes their images and posts them in large scale in the town that they live. I find this incredible, it's like advertisement for these people who don't have a voice. I've attached some videos below of some of his projects he's done.

Videos of JR's Projects:

Uploaded by JR. - Discover more animation and arts videos.

JR / Exposition Paris 2009 - Ile Saint Louis
Uploaded by JR. - Arts and animation videos.

Uploaded by JR. - Independent web videos.

FACE 2 FACE trailer by JR and Marco
Uploaded by JR. - Arts and animation videos.

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