Women Are Heroes
Street artist JR hangs photographs of women’s faces in the favelas of Rio De Janeiro
JR exhibits in the streets of the world, bringing art to people who are not your typical museum visitors. Often dealing with issues of identity and freedom, JR’s art resonates with the everyman. JR has exhibited all over the world with his series Women Are Heroes, a project that is dedicated to highlighting ‘those who play an essential role in society but who are the primary victims of war, crime, rape and political or religious fanaticism’.
From 2008-2009, JR exhibited in an unusual place: the favela of Moro de Providencia in Rio De Janeiro. An area largely associated with the violent crimes rampant in Rio’s poverty-stricken communities, it was given new life with art. On the exteriors of houses on the hill, JR pasted huge photos of the faces and gazes of local women, introducing a female gaze to the area and giving the oppressed a presence and a voice.
Of the project, JR says ‘It’s a project made of bric-a-brac, like the favela itself. We had to adapt to this world where the roofs of houses are made of plastic and children’s revolvers are made of steel. We managed to get by in spite of the steep streets, the unsteady houses, the unpredictable electric cables and the exchanges of gunshots where the bullets sometimes go through several houses at once”. Perhaps amidst all the struggle and uncertainty about the future, JR’s art provides an acknowledgement of the voices of women which may never be silenced.
The Women Are Heroes exhibition has been brought to countries such as Sierra Leone, India and Cambodia.