If you happened to be in Paris in October or November of last year, or in Brussels in March 2008, or in London and New York at some point between those two, then you would have had the opportunity to run across this picture, part of a project called “Women are Heroes” by photographer JR—self-described creator of “pervasive art”—done in collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières (shocker).

Let’s just say the reactions in Paris were mixed.


So what’s all this about? You know, beyond “stunning” pictures of poor African (and Indian, Brazilian and Cambodian) women we want to save? Judging from the trailer below, not much. Although to be fair, I do like the concept of also exhibiting the pictures in the communities from which the women come. Now, as to what the point of splashing a giant picture of a naked, presumably poor and downtrodden, African woman across an embankment in Paris is, I’ll let you all decide.


Further Reading

Where the social is political

On 9 May 2017, residents of six neighborhoods across South Africa’s richest province, Gauteng, protested about lack of basic services, housing and employment. A local TV news crew captured the frustrations of a resident from Ennerdale, one of the affected neighborhoods: “When …

Hack, make, sell

How to change the erroneous perception of Africa as technology backwater. Go look, for example, at what the “Maker Movement” is doing in Ghana and Nigeria.

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.