JR, Women Are Heroes
water-resistant paper installation on houses, 2009
image courtesy of JR

Happy Portrait Monday!

Today's Portrait Monday is brought to you by the Winsor Gallery intern, Alex Quicho, and the street artist JR.

JR's work is public, provocative, and political. Specializing in large-scale wheatpasted portraits that, through their scale and location, illuminate a particular political circumstance (for example, photographs of suburban "thugs" pasted in large format in the bourgeois neighbourhoods of Paris), JR's work has garnered much global attention -- including a spot on TEDtalks -- for its generosity and cleverness.

The Women Are Heroes project in particular celebrates local women working in the communities of Kenya, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Liberia. In this image, 2000 square feet of rooftops are covered with photographs of the women that reside in Kibera, Kenya, printed on water-resistant paper. The photographs serve two purposes: to honour the women of Kibera, and to protect the fragile houses during the heavy rain season.

Additionally, sharp eyes will notice that in the top right-hand corner of the photograph, eyes pasted onto trains line up with smiling faces attached to the hillside. For a split second every day, these smiles are completed.