Time is Now, Yalla! JR Goes to Israel and Palestine

© Time is Now, Yalla!

Giant billboards with smiling faces may not be something french photographer JR pioneered, but the secretive photographer did adopt the approach in a unique and meaningful way.

JR rocketed to fame in 2008 with his portraits of women in Brazilian favelas enlarged to sizes capable of covering the walls and roofs where he pasted them - right where he shot them - in the slums. Based on this work, JR was granted the TED Prize which annually supports one person in their wish to help change the world.

Recently JR and his team spent time in Israel and Palestine for their project Time is Now, Yalla!

The photographer, his producer Marco Berrebi and their colleagues set up four giant photo booths and invited the tense neighbours to take a self-portrait and write a bit about themselves.
The organizers would then print large black and white posters from the portraits for the residents to paste up around their city.

Time is Now, Yalla was photographed in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Bethlehem and Ramallah.

When I first worked here on the Face2Face Project (2007), I pasted portraits of Israelis and Palestinians doing the same jobs to show that, despite their differences, Palestinians and Israelis are similar enough to understand each other” said JR.  Everyone can tell a story through art, and the Time is Now to break down barriers to expression and give people the tools to be seen and heard. We want to show that there is massive support for peace on both sides and that young people want to move forward, to secure their future. Our role is simply to create a positive public visual statement, in both Israel and Palestine …
The project is called Time Is Now, Yalla! because 'Yalla!' is an Arabic word used by both Palestinians and Israelis to say 'let’s go'."

TED Prize Director Amy Novogratz offered, “Too often positive stories get lost amidst conflict, and I believe Inside Out is chipping away at external perceptions and letting people show the world who they are and what they believe at their core. I have no doubt that Time is Now, Yalla! will give way to more beautiful images, powerful moments, and hopefully an opportunity for change.

© Time is Now, Yalla!

© Time is Now, Yalla!

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