A famously anonymous French photographer who goes by the name JR takes startling personal portraits and posts them in massive dimensions in the street for all to see. One of his more recent projects called, “Women are Heroes” focuses on the extremely poor women across the world, from Brazil to Kenya and Cambodia. Ranges of expression grace the walls of the favela, scowls and grimaces to wide gap-toothed grins. The eyes follow you and bear silent witness to the daily struggle that goes on in the underprivileged towns across the globe.
The portraits pay tribute to the women who carry society on their backs, but are often the most impacted by the crimes of poverty, such as abuse, rape and religious fanaticism just to name a few. The art is not an imposter; it is not a stranger unwelcomingly squatting against the wall, but rather a part of the community. It carries a message, yes but can be reinterpreted infinitely to each viewers eyes through the lens of their own mother who may have been similarly affected.
There are no degrees of separation between the viewer and the art, it is relevant, it is now, it lives in your home. This “pervasive art” where the actor is the audience makes the subject a true reflection and the artist an unbiased interpreter. These women are not consumers, but creators, carving out a life from the harsh climates of the jungle or an arid desert.
As a team we discussed the Women are Heroes project. Inspired by the pervasiveness of the images, wanted to have a living column of reflection and commentary on our lives. Some of the topics will be sensitive but we will approach them fearlessly. We believe women who are fearless can change the world. We hope to inspire our readers to Be Fearless in their communities.