Let me paint the scene. We are shooting our documentary This is My Normal in Nairobi, Kenya last year. We had decided to follow one of our subjects home from work one night. He happened to live in the Kibera slums (one of the largest in Africa). Throughout our trip, there was one primary rule we had been given. “Don’t hang in the slums at night.”
Not only did we decide to travel through Kibera that night, we chose to carry large film equipment, including a giant battery powered LED light (which I happened to be holding over my head). Standing out is an understatement. I’ll admit. My heart was beating fast. We moved fast through a number of alleys and streets and eventually came upon a path that led to the train tracks that ran through the slums. The tracks were elevated. As we walked along the tracks and began to head down the other side towards our friend’s home, I became captivated by the rooftops I now saw. They were painted. They were mesmerizing. They were art?
Not until I returned home and stumbled randomly upon this TED talk, did I realize this was the artwork of famed French artist JR. Not every photo seen above was still present, but enough “eyes” that caught my attention. In the midst of some of the most intense moments of my trip, I paused.
Is this not the hope of good art? To pause. To wonder. Read the rest of the entry >