Art for the people

A mysterious French artist who transforms some of the world’s most downtrodden slums with his haunting large-scale photographs has won the TED prize for his humanitarian work. (Cheers Tet, our newbie in NY.)

With past winners like Bono and Bill Clinton, the TED prize gives the recipient $100,000 and ‘One Wish to Change the World,’ which often leads to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.

The 27-year-old Parisian who calls himself ‘JR’ to protect his anonymity, photographs faces of people who live in poverty and then blows up the images and pastes them on rooftops or walls. His tactics aren’t always legal – in China, he was arrested (then released) for posting one of his photos.

JR told the NY Times that he was stunned to be selected and didn’t know what philanthropic project he will launch as his ‘One Wish’. He said: “I go to local communities, forgotten communities or antagonistic communities, and try to energize them and bring them together and make them think, through the medium of art. I would want my ‘wish’ to be something like that, but on a global scale.”


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