Mysterious French street artist JR wins coveted TED Prize

21st October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A mysterious French artist that uses bleak streets in cities around the world as frames for his photos has won a TED Prize of 100,000 dollars and help in changing the world for the better.

Organizers of TED, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to cultivating ideas and innovation through its prestigious conferences, described the man known only as "JR" as a "true humanitarian" whose art inspires people to look at the world differently and want to work to make it better.

"JR's mind-blowing creations have inspired people to see art where they wouldn't expect it and create it when they didn't know they could," said TED Prize director Amy Novogratz.

"He's putting a human face on some of the most critical social issues while redefining how we view, make and display art."

The artist doesn't reveal his full face, name, or the intended meaning of his poster-sized images.

He has mounted his enormous black-and-white photos on buildings in slums around Paris; on walls in the Middle East; on dilapidated bridges in Africa, and on homes in Brazilian shanty towns.

JR put images of a rabbi, an imam, and a priest on walls in Israel and Palestine. His "Women Are Heroes" display turned a Kenyan town into a "stunning gallery of local faces," according to TED.

"JR has moved all of us at the TED Prize," Novogratz said. "There is no doubt that his talent, paired with the resources of this amazing community, will lead to a wish that changes the world."

Each year, TED grants prizes to people with track records of doing good and visions of changing the world for the better.

Prize winners each get 100,000 dollars each and a wish at which "Tedsters" can aim resources, influence and abilities.

TED is known for its mix of brilliant, accomplished people and annual conferences that attract members ranging from celebrities and politicians to Nobel Prize winners and founders of Internet titans such as Google and Amazon.

JR will get a chance to reveal his wish at a Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Conference in the Southern California city of Long Beach from February 28 to March 4 next year.

© 2010 AFP

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