ABOUT THE INSIDE OUT PROJECT
On March 2, 2011, JR won the TED prize at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and called for the creation of a global participatory art project with the potential to change the world. This project is called INSIDE OUT.
Inspired by JR’s large‐format street “pastings”, INSIDE OUT gives everyone the opportunity to share their portrait and make a statement for what they stand for. It is a global platform for people to share their untold stories and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art.
Each INSIDE OUT group action around the world is documented, archived and exhibited online. Over 260,000 people have participated in 129 countries.
The INSIDE OUT project has traveled from Ecuador to Nepal, from Mexico to Palestine, inspiring group actions on varied themes such as hope, diversity, gender-based violence, climate change… Discover the extent of the project through some selected actions.
This country and especially the city of Montgomery has struggled to correct the injustices of racism and prejudice. I’ve seen it up close and first hand. I thought we had come further until I retired from the military and moved home in 2004. Some may argue with me, but from my perspective yes things have changed but we still have a long way to go. Things are still different here. The wounds seem to be deeper, the healing slower. The antiquated ways of thinking about one another and our differences still lingers here and it’s sad. It’s hurtful to see and disgraceful to watch. I’m baffled thinking of how to change this community, my community. What’s my part? What can I do?
I’m not the type to protest in the literal sense with picket signs and shouting. So what to I do? I’ve thought of this a lot and this is what I’ve come to. I can protest and bring about change by treating everyone the same, by helping people that don’t look like me. I can actually look others in the face and talk to them even if it’s just a, “How’s your day?” or “I hope you have a great afternoon.” I can calmly and lovingly correct injustices when I see them. I can love everybody as my brother/sister in Christ. I can’t control others actions, and it’s unlikely I’ll change their minds or actions on the spot, but what I can do is plant a seed. I can give them something to think about. I can lead by example and I can suggest another way. I may never see the growth or maturation of the seeds I plant, but I’m confident that God will grow something good out of them.
As I looked at the pictures symbolically displayed on Dexter Avenue I’m inspired. I have hope for our city and our country. I saw smiles and laughter in a massive display of diversity. I saw hope. I thought if we could only live this out, smiling and laughing side by side in spite of our differences. What if we could celebrate our differences? There are so many colors of people in the world with so many cultural differences. If we could only sit down and talk, how much would we learn? We’d be exposed to different music, clothing, spices, food, traditions, games, jokes, books, art, etc. Maybe we’d even share commonalities.
It’s time for us to put down our weapons, our armor. It’s time to stop talking down to each other and start talking to each other. It’s time to rise above our history and create a new city, one known for unity and not slavery. I thank God for all of those who are attacking this issue headon but with love, mercy, and grace. I pray that God will give me my place in creating the change I want to see in others. Thank you to the INSIDE OUT project for this inspiring art display. The print in the window of the pictures posted above reads, “We are the dream.” Let’s come together and make that dream a reality.