Image JR Inside Out Project, Naplouse, Palestine 2011.
French famous photographer and street artist Jean René (artistic name JR), after winning the Ted prize in 2011, decided to take his work to the next level by creating the project: “Inside Out.” His main propose was to use “cities as a canvas” and create a movement to “turn the world inside out” in other words, by letting people from different parts of the world to use their issues and through big posters with his photography situated in various parts of cities, deliver a message. One of the most famous of the projects that were part of Inside out was “Time is Now, Yalla!” Which is about Israel and Palestine conflict.
Inside Out Project, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, 2011.
The battle of Israel and Palestine goes back to the 1800s when Zionists, a small Jewish group tried to colonize Palestine in belief that they were more than a religion, a nationality and they were in need of the creation of a “homeland.” After the World War I (1919-1940), with the British being the owners of the land and the declaration of the British Mandate for Palestine, sent even more Jews to the area. Then, with Hitler in power of Germany many more Jews migrate to Palestine as well, with the goal of escaping from the Holocaust. The Jewish in attempt of gaining the land of Palestine they fought and killed many native people of Palestine. Later in 1947, because of the existing violence in the country, the United Nations, decided to separate the county in two states: Israel that will be composed for Jews and Palestine, which be composed by Arabs or native people from Palestine. In addition, Britain decided to remove themselves from the issue and give the land to Jews and Arabs. As time progressed, the war between Arabs and Jews arose, because of Arabs’ desire to get the old Palestine. The war ended with Israel as triumphant, with more land taken from Palestine and control over most of Palestine and their people. The war, hatred for land and power between both parts of the country is still present today. However, the Israeli have been trying to control the conflict by constructing walls and enforcing vigilance.
JR decided to name this project Time is Now, Yalla! Because “yalla!” is a word that both Palestinians and Israelis share which means “let’s go.” They used this phrase to remind people that even though they’ve been fighting for many years they still share many similarities, as well as there’s still possibility for peace and it’s time to move on from past issues. According to JR’s official website, this project started in September of 2011 in which JR and his working team brought many photo booths as well as separate photographers. They produced the pictures and then gave it to the people in order for them to be placed around the country. Approximately thousand pictures were printed daily. Pictures of people from Israel as well as Palestine were pasted together to show that their problem is more than a “social issue” this has been a political issue of pursuit of power through possession of land, lack of tolerance and acceptance of foreign Jew immigration. As well as history used as a medium to reinforce hate, resentment and friction between the two groups.
Artist statements such as JR’s are primordial for territories in conflict such as Palestine and Israel because not only satisfies the purpose of making a city more beautiful and appealing. But it goes above that by sending a message to all audiences, serving as a way for people in a country to express their feelings towards the constant reinforcement of hate and dispute. As well, as the creation of a revolutionary movement in attempt to make changes in the way people think, government use of power and by creating tolerance and peace between groups, in order to change how history has been told.
Inside Out Project, Bethlehem, 2011.
Written by Jacquie Nunez.