INSIDE OUT - Tunisia, Ex Ben Ali Billboard on La Goulette Road

Artocracy in Tunisia, the new InsideOut project by JR
Art, People and Freedom

Six Tunisian photographers travelled the country to take pictures of 100 « normal » tunisians representing the Tunisian diversity: men and women, young and old, from North, South East and West, rich or poor, civil servants, business people, workers, farmers, unemployed, and much more… For a country which has only exposed in the streets the portraits of the ruler, this makes quite a difference.

For the first large street exhibition in a nascent Arab democracy, the posting promised to be surprising and the confrontation with art not always simple. Our first two days were quite hot (insulted in La Goulette the first day, posters taken down in Tunis the second day). So we decided to go to Sidi Bouzid (where it all started), an isolated region, to work with those who did the revolution before coming back to the popular districts of the capital.
There is nothing better to understand the weight of traditions and the willingness to change than to post big portraits in the symbolic places of the popular districts and try to explain the concept to people nearby…

And then, we received a warm welcome in Sfax, Sidi Bouzid, Le Kram where men and women (OK, mostly men) have asked questions, challenged the project, raised objections, posted with us, explained the project to their neighbors…

About JR

A semi-anonymous street artist of international renown, JR plasters giant, monochrome photographs of faces in urban centers—on rooftops and walls, in church windows, and along the sides of buses. Calling the street his gallery and “using art to turn the world inside out,” JR delivers a message of social action, telling the stories of the marginalized or voiceless. “Portrait d’une Generation” (2004-06) featured images of young African immigrants hamming for the camera, plastered in the Paris suburbs in the aftermath of major rioting; for his project “Face 2 Face” (2005-07), JR pasted huge images of similarly jovial Jews and Palestinians along the border marking disputed areas between Israel and Palestine. JR describes his practice as a continuation of the “tagging” he did as a young graffiti artist: “I’m tagging faces of persons,” he says. “They are the ones responsible for their image. When the people react to the project, it becomes their project.”

French, b. 1983

Solo Shows on Artsy

2015
Crossing, Lazarides, London
2015
A Survey Exhibition, Hong Kong Contemporary Art
2015
JR: A Survey Exhibition, Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong

Group Shows on Artsy

2013
Liu Bolin: Mask, Klein Sun Gallery