About Face

Street artist JR brings Israelis and Palestinians closer together on the security wall that divides them.

“The image you have of the conflict is not the right one,” says the French photographer and street artist known as JR, on the topic of Israel and Palestine. While we imagine two worlds hopelessly disconnected, the reality is something else. JR learned this firsthand when, visiting the area two years ago, he was struck by the enormous commonalities between the two sides.

Emerging from that trip, the Face2Face project is his effort to bridge that divide in understanding by placing photos of Israelis and Palestinians—with the same jobs—beside one another. JR spent months meeting and photographing these locals, and last spring he and his collaborator, Marco, plastered oversized print-outs of the portraits onto buildings (in eight cities) across the region, as well as onto the West Bank security wall, confronting passersby with a rare artistic rather than political intervention.

It’s an audacious project, both in its scope and in its willingness to point out the obvious similarities between two groups who so often consider themselves irreconcilably different; with that audacity the Face2Face project asks people to think about the conflict not just accept it. “When you try things that people say you cannot do,” JR explains, “you realize they’re wrong.”



BOOK AND FILM Look for the Face2Face book this June and a documentary in September.