An Outstanding Artist’s “One Wish to Change the World”

Back in October, talented French street artist “JR” was awarded the 2011 TED Prize.

For those unfamiliar with it, the TED Prize offers one winner $100,000 for a charity of their choice and, more importantly, “One Wish to Change the World.”

The “One Wish” is designed to leverage the TED community’s resources and talent to create projects with far-reaching impact. Previous winners have included Jamie Oliver, Dave Eggers, Bill Clinton, and Bono, among others.

JR will announce his “One Wish to Change the World” at the TED on March 2nd. Since JR’s identity remains unconfirmed, it will be interesting to see how he announces his “One Wish”.

Will he finally confirm his identity and appear in person? Considering that his anonymity lends a certain integrity to his work, it’s unlikely he’ll reveal who he really is.

JR’s previous projects have included a wide variety of street art installations, some of which have gained official recognition.

His projects are generally very ambitious, and have far-reaching social and political implications. In 2007 he co-created Face2Face, an art installation along the Separation Barrier between Israel and Palestine.

The installation consisted of huge photos of Palestinians and Israelis, face to face on either side of the Barrier, in eight cities on either side. He’s on record as saying that “The heroes of the project are all those who, on both sides of the wall, allowed me to paste the portraits on their houses.”

Face2Face was just one part of his 28 millimeters project, in which he uses a 28mm fish-eye lens to capture close-ups of his subjects, often lending a human quality to them that is missing in mainstream media coverage of the events they partake in.

It started in 2005, with his “Portraits of a Generation” project, in which he photographed rioters in the French suburbs. He then posted these images along the walls of the Cité des Bosquets housing project.

He also recently premiered a feature film, “Women are Heroes” in Paris, where he resides. The project aims to showcase the dignity of women who often become targets during conflicts around the world. As part of the project, he plastered images of women who live in the slums of Kibera, Kenya to the rooftops there. The installation covered 2,000 square meters of roof.

You can tune into the live stream of the prize ceremony at the TED conference on March 2nd at 5pm PST. You can sign up for updates on the TED website. The Observer also ran a great article about JR last March.

Here are some more of JR’s installations:

Photo by Nick J Webb

Photo by Nick J Webb

Photo by Stefan Kloo

Photo by Annie Mole

Photo by gildas_f

Photo by gildas_f

Photo by Stefan Kloo

Photo by Vincent Desjardins

What do you think of JR’s art and his projects? Please share your views below…

  • Andrew

    Outstanding piece of work. I am word less. Thank you for sharing

  • benjamin christine

    Great work! Really nice stuff in great locations also! Strong impact! :)

  • David

    Art is really good in making us look at otherwise ignore sights of society.

  • Soraya Darwish

    Very inspirational work. This quote by Einstein applies to his work, and few other contemporary artists I’ve come across.
    “I feel that you are justified in looking into the future with true assurance, because you have a mode of living in which we find the joy of life and the joy of work harmoniously combined. Added to this is the spirit of ambition which pervades your very being, and seems to make the day’s work like a happy child at play.”

  • Melody

    Very inspiring project. What’s great about it is that human emotion is contagious and by sprinkling photos all around the city or country you can affect positive change in the daily interactions between people just with these visuals.
    The train series is especially creative!

  • Darkened Soul

    great work, seriously, brings some spirit to town :D means there are still living good souls out there could call it wART (war-art)


    Questionable creativity. Do not like …((

  • Angelee

    Are these stickers? How were these huge prints being installed.. I’m curious not because I want to copy it but it’s so inspiring how photojournalism can be go more vivid and screaming..

  • J Nicholson

    Very impactful statements. Love the large scale applications. Good to see that art is never predictable and that it can be applied and incorporated in so many ways.