This isn’t graffiti, but it’s part of the art crime scene and the idea is pretty much the same. Gigantic posters smeared all over, in your face, without authorization. Pretty much like commercials, except that graffiti ain’t trying to sell you anything, but to make you think.
JR is an art genius and a great photographer (he uses only a camera that he found once in the subway). His street art project Face2Face has resulted in the film Faces which has been broadcasted at the same period by the Israeli TV and the Arab channels. It is also presented by the International Festival of Muslim Films in Kazan as well as The UK Jewish Film Festival in London. This must be unique!
Here’s the description of the Face2Face project:
When we met in 2005, we decided to go together in the Middle-East to figure out why Palestinians and Israelis couldn’t find a way to get along together. We then traveled across the Israeli and Palestinian cities without speaking much. Just looking to this world with amazement. This holy place for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This tiny area where you can see mountains, sea, deserts and lakes, love and hate, hope and despair embedded together.
After a week, we had a conclusion with the same words: these people look the same; they speak almost the same language, like twin brothers raised in different families. A religious covered woman has her twin sister on the other side. A farmer, a taxi driver, a teacher, has his twin brother in front of him. And he his endlessly fighting with him. It’s obvious, but they don’t see that.
We must put them face to face. They will realize. We want that, at last, everyone laughs and thinks when he sees the portrait of the other and his own portrait.
The Face2Face project is to make portraits of Palestinians and Israelis doing the same job and to post them face to face, in huge formats, in unavoidable places, on the Israeli and the Palestinian sides. In a very sensitive context, we need to be clear.
We are in favor of a solution for which two countries, Israel and Palestine would live peacefully within safe and internationally recognized borders. All the bilateral peace projects (Clinton/Taba, Ayalon/Nussibeh, Geneva Accords) are converging in the same direction. We can be optimistic. We hope that this project will contribute to a better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.
Today, “Face to face” is necessary.
Within a few years, we will come back for “Hand in hand”.
JR has also done some amazing paste work in Rio De Janeiro and the favellas, as well as in London, New York, Brussels, Carthagene… Well, pretty much everywhere. Here’s a mixture of his stuff. Check out more at his website.