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August 19, 2008
French photographer JR is traveling the globe as part of his ongoing photo-mural series of site-specific installations about women. The project is aptly titled Women are Heroes.
Right now JR is in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil where the context of favelas has encouraged him to meet women for whom crime, violent loss of loved ones and arbitrary repression are part of everyday life.
Favela da Providencia was chosen to host the project for its strong historical relevance – it was the first favela of Rio de Janeiro and carries the title of the most dangerous one of all. It also has a recent history of murders of innocent people in the war between a local corrupted army and drug dealers.
This art project is completely independent and not sponsored by any institution or brand.
The technique used is simple – the portraits become oversized prints which are pasted on the architecture with the help of the community. The photographer Mauricio Hora, born and raised in Providencia, has been responsible for the realization of the project locally together with Rosiete Marinho, another local leader.
Portraits of the women, coming from different origins and generations, unite hill and asphalt to give a face to the favela. More photos appear nearly every day on JR's website.
You can see earlier work by JR, and hear him speak in an interview with Jim Casper, at Lens Culture.