International Women’s Day may have been earlier this week, and Women’s History Month may only last for the 31 days of March, but we think French street artist JR’s TED award-winning project “Women Are Heroes” is pretty special for any day of the year.
The idea is so simple on paper, and yet so arresting in its execution. JR’s team took photos of women living in conflict zones from Kanya and Nairobi to Brazil, blowing up the black and white portraits to plaster them on train cars and on shop walls and the stairs of the communities where the women lived. The photo-posters, which capture women in goofy and dignified and joyful expressions, change the landscape of the neighborhoods temporarily, and also demand locals to see women in a new light.
One woman says of a life spent dedicated to defending her community: “We have to continue to fight. Continue the fight and never give in. Once you start on the road to emancipation, you have to keep going.”
This summer I happened to catch a JR installation, where this 17-minute video from “Women Are Heroes” looped over and over inside a dark room plastered with his black and white photographs. The film was mesmerizing. I was so moved by the rich, textured portraits of women telling their own stories in their homes, and testifying about lives full of pain and unspeakable tragedy, but also survival and resilience.
Watch the trailer for “Women Are Heroes,” and join us as we bask for a moment in the global sisterhood of women who are fighting every day for their communities and families.
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