Navigation

Related Articles

Filter by Category

Filter by Author

Back to Latest Articles
BLM… JR: Chronicles
Art

BLM… JR: Chronicles


Gabriela Zhelyazkova
Gabriela Zhelyazkova
BLM… JR: Chronicles

JR: Chronicles 

The answers are out there for you, as long as you want to educate yourself!

Black Lives Matter, is a movement that originated in July 2013, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin 17 months earlier in February 2012. It allowed people who are not aware of discrimination, to educate themselves and learn about why people are protesting.  This movement is now a worldwide action adapted through the media in ways such as protests, videos, and even artwork. 

Friday 1st October, I and the photography and art students of Bushey Meads school were invited to attend the JR: Chronicles exhibition in the Saatchi Gallery. This was the largest solo museum exhibition to date, which features moving pictures of what life is like for those segregated and forgotten by society and the system. From the controversial topic of gun violence that hinders the innovation of the USA to the discrimination Kenyan slums face daily as if they are forgotten by the world, JR highlights issues that would be blind to the area which the gallery is based in, Chelsea, as well as to some of us caught in the whirlwind of our daily lives. 

The main aim of this exhibition was so people could stop and think about the project they look at scattered on 3 levels of the gallery. The introduction was his unfortunate upbringing, as JR himself is an immigrant in France. His love for street art, that specifically being graffiti, was prominent in his teen years as he used the streets of Paris as his canvas. He and his friends created their type of ‘movement’ which allowed their voices to be heard in a particular way. These early photographic projects are featured where he documented and pasted photocopies of his community of graffiti artists in action, using the streets as an open gallery. Portrait of a Generation (in the photograph below) features portraits of young people from Les Bosquets, a housing project in the Parisian suburb of Montfermeil that became a central location for countrywide riots in 2005 amid rising socioeconomic and police tensions. These black men and women who were bought up in poverty were plastered all over the suburb as a way to highlight the daily struggle they face behind the silly faces they were creating for the camera. The juxtaposition between struggle and happiness highlights the way the media took these people as a joke, essentially leaving them to deal with the problems at hand. JR opening the visitor’s lives to what is really behind the rose-tinted glasses of Paris. JR Chronicles – Don't miss this new exhibition at Saatchi Gallery • Berkeley Square Barbarian

Furthermore, this exhibition made me think. As an immigrant myself, facing struggles was part of my upbringing in a foreign country, however, segregation of skin color, religion, or beliefs is something I have never experienced, which is what makes me a privileged woman.

JR’s international projects leave France in 2007, entering Isreal and Palestine. Face 2 Face (2007) featured giant portrait diptychs of Israelis and Palestinians pasted on either side of the separation wall and in several surrounding towns. The portraits were of pairs of people -one Israeli and one Palestinian- who lived on opposite sides of the wall yet held the same job: teachers, doctors, athletes, artists, and religious leaders; they were displayed side by side, without any signifiers indicating which were Israeli and which were Palestinian. At the time, it was considered the largest illegal photography exhibition ever made in Israel, spanning over eight cities including Bethlehem, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. This movement was about a similar event that occurred earlier this year in the two cities, where there was a clear colonizer and oppressor, experiencing violence towards those most vulnerable. JR achieved discussion amongst the students who viewed these powerful images, through a lens of appreciation towards the artist and sympathy for those who have a battlefield in their front door, something we won’t experience.

JR-face2face

This expedition was not only empowering in the sense that it encouraged me and my peers to research the topics JR was covering, but also education as each project had a story behind it.

Poverty in Africa is something that is a prevalent issue that is frequently on the media in things such as Comic Relief, where celebrities help out those communities who need it the most. However, how can you help 1 village and leave the rest? JR took it upon himself to plaster waterproof vinyl of the roof of slums in Kenya –  large-scale images of their eyes and faces in their communities. This was during the time of Google Maps being introduced and these images were seen from satellite images, highlighting not only his impact in the community as the vinyl protected the houses from rainfall but also the impact on the world which an immigrant street artist can achieve.

Photos of women's eyes: International street art by JR - Chatelaine

For myself, this exhibition opened my eyes, to discover people’s lives who are not only less fortunate than us but also who don’t get the recognition and help from the media which others do. As a white woman, this white male artist demonstrated that if you don’t know just ask and get educated into knowing right from wrong and helping your community, whether it is through supporting organizations that support the Black Lives Matter movement or small charities that send food and female aid to communities detached from society. The answers are out there for you, as long as you want to educate yourself on the matters that are unfamiliar to you, the same way JR conveyed in his exhibitions.

This is an artwork I created and just like art, the social movement of Black Lives Matter is something that shouldn’t be forgotten because it’s no longer a ‘trend’. Equality, appreciation, and respect were not just relevant last year but will be and has been forever. Do not stop spreading awareness, and correct those who are ignorant and inconsiderate in the choices they make in treating others. 

 

Related Articles

BMS Art Exhibition Launches the Bushey Festival 2018
Art

BMS Art Exhibition Launches the Bushey Festival 2018

Many of our talented artists had their work exhibited at the very prestigious opening of the Bushey Festival 2018. Held at Reverley Lodge in Bushey Heath and attended by a number...

Posted on by Jeremy Turner
Excellent Year 10 Art Work
Art

Excellent Year 10 Art Work

The art department was very excited to welcome our year 10 students back into the classrooms. Whilst they had been producing some lovely artwork at home it was great to be able to...

Posted on by Kate Hoskins