Les Enfants d’Ouranos #16, (The Children of Uranus #16), is part of French artist JR’s eponymous cycle of works dedicated to war refugee children. Referring to the Greek god of the sky, Uranus, these negative-printed photos on reclaimed wood depict children fleeing the planet’s many ongoing conflicts. These silhouettes glowing in the darkness, obliterated in context and detail, emerge as mysterious figures where shadows become lights and lights become shadows. These children about to enter adulthood are portrayed at a moment of transition in both time and space; they are not portraits of a specific individual but are collective portraits of people fleeing for a better future. JR has visited many refugee camps, such as Lesbos in Greece, Mugombwa in Rwanda, Mbera in Mauritania and Cùcuta in Colombia, to witness the difficult living conditions of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers. This cycle of works reflect on the impacts of wars and the consequences they have on the lives of countless people.
JR (1983, Paris, France), lives and works in Paris. Between photography, video, street art and social engagement, JR’s practice has over the past two decades produced public projects and site-specific interventions all over the world: from Parisian banlieues to the Middle East, from Africa to Brazilian favelas. He found his first camera in a Paris metro station and has been taking pictures of people ever since. His recent exhibitions include Gallerie d’Italia, Turin (2023); Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul (forthcoming 2023); Munich Kunsthalle, Munich (2022); Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (2021); SFMOMA, San Francisco (2019); CAC Malaga (2015); Watari Museum, Tokyo (2013). Group exhibitions include those at K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong (forthcoming 2023); PinchukArtCentre, Venice (2022); Galleria Continua, Paris (2021); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2020). He has made the documentaries Women Are Heroes (2011); Faces and Places (2017) co-directed with Agnès Varda; and Paper and Glue (2021).