TED talks have taken the world by storm, and it's about time. Finally, a forum for anyone to share an inspiring idea, fascinating theory, or comical revelation. Each year TED awards one person $100,000 and one wish to change the world (former awards have been given to Bill Clinton and Bono). This year the winner is J.R., and yes, that is all we know about him. He is an anonymous street photographer and artist that plasters his statements freely on the sides of buildings, buses, and bridges around the world. So why devote a blog post to him?
J.R. works to give faces to the slums in France, Brazil, Cambodia, Kenya, and China. He shoots, prints, and plasters enormous faces and figures in high traffic areas, ensuring his measure gets out. You can't ignore us anymore. Due to its sheer volume, it is impossible to ignore J.R.'s work, and maybe that's just what we need. Everyday we see pictures of impoverished areas all over the world and can't relate, can't possibly understand what life is really like. It's hard to think that behind each dilapidated door lie people, children, and families-- but that is the reality. Poverty is real, not just photogenic. So today, we praise J.R. for his creativity, courage, and tact in bringing an overlooked subject to light. We stand in solidarity with TED and with J.R. in taking on global poverty on a personal and emotional level.
As we build relationships and break ground in Chaquijyá, it is inspiring to see a once small project like this take flight and truly impact those otherwise forgotten.