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How paper and glue rekindled a sense of hope in a supermax prison

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Mind, Body, Spirit- Part 3.

The artist JR pastes massive photographs on surfaces ranging from the Louvre to the courtyard floor of a supermax prison. JR explores how his monumental work inspires hope, change and connection.

About JR

Giants, Kikito and the Border patrol, Tecate, Border Mexico-USA
/ JR
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JR
Giants, Kikito and the Border patrol, Tecate, Border Mexico-USA

JRis a French artist who works anonymously to create massive works of street art. In 2011, JR received the TED Prize, which prompted the launch of "Inside Out," a global project giving people worldwide the chance to make statements of public art in the form of black-and-white portraits that are blown up and pasted on spaces such as a footbridge in Hong Kong, the sidewalks of Times Square in New York and the dome of the Pantheon in Paris. More than 450,000 people from 141 countries have taken part in the project since 2011.

Tehachapi, California, aerial view of the pasting
/ JR
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JR
Tehachapi, California, aerial view of the pasting

One of his more recent projects is a large-scale pasting in a maximum security prison in Tehachapi, California. The mural, as well as recordings made by the inmates who participated in the project, can be seen in the app JR: Murals.

Tehachapi, Pasting in the courtyard
/ Marc Azoulay
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Marc Azoulay
Tehachapi, Pasting in the courtyard

Other recent projects from JR include the 2018 Oscar-nominated feature documentary Visages Villages, co-directed with director Agnès Varda, a TIME cover, a video mural featuring 1,200 people presented at SFMOMA, an exhibition on the abandoned hospital on Ellis Island and a huge installation at the US–Mexico border fence. His work is the subject of the 2021 documentary Paper & Glue.

This segment of the TED Radio Hour was produced by Rachel Faulkner White and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour and Manoush Zomorodi. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHourand email us at TEDRadioHour@npr.org.


Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manoush Zomorodi
Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Rachel Faulkner White
Rachel Faulkner is a producer and editor for TED Radio Hour.
Sanaz Meshkinpour
[Copyright 2024 NPR]