Saturday, March 15, 2014


Last year, I made the decision to share what inspired me, and to not go another day without having at least one moment during my waking hours where I felt amazed and moved about something, no matter how little it was. Around this time, I had a small but inspiring role, along with 2,500 other people to be part of the INSIDE OUT Lyon art project led by Canadian actress Charlotte le Bon and French artist JR to celebrate the 30 years of La Marche pour l’égalité et contre le racisme (March for Equality and Against Racism) that took place in France to denounce racial crimes and raise tolerance toward the new people of France.

The concept was simple, send in a photo of yourself in black and white which would later be pasted on the streets of Lyon, where the March started. Browsing through Instagram one day, I spotted my stripped shirt and messy hair, and it was then I understood that our photos travel for us even when we can't, and that they're part of a statement, of a mission. 

In 2011, JR won the TED Prize and created his wish for a global art project that we could all be part of: INSIDE OUT. Before launching this global art initiative, he traveled the world displaying portraits of people to convey a message. In Israel and Palestine, he created the biggest illegal art display in the world with "Face to Face," pasting photos of Israelis and Palestinians that did the same job, cab drivers, bakers. His art has touched all corners of the world and communicated on a variety of issues, from violence in Brazilian favelas, to women's roles in their society, to social class conflicts. 
Anyone can organize an INSIDE OUT action to convey their message. Gathering their community and taking their photographs, the images are printed by JR's team and sent back to paste anywhere.

I couldn't think of a better platform to share a message that is important to me in my community, and following my commitment to be inspired, I have created a group action to convey a message very important to me and celebrate La Francophonie and the power of language. You can read more about that/participate here.

I could write pages about these projects, but following the visual line, I think its best if you watch the documentary created for the INSIDE OUT project here.

One of JR's latest projects is to restore the Pantheon in Paris (one of my favorite monuments). He is now collecting your portraits, you can send them through the website until the 29th of March. Simply take a vertical portrait in black and white following the rules listed and be part of it. To participate, click here (site in English).

For more information on JR, Artsy has a comprehensive list of his artwork for sale, upcoming shows, and articles here.

(image credits to JR, Charlotte le Bon)