June 05, 2011

The Inside Out Project

Inside Out:  Fort Yates expresses itself through art project

By Teri FinnemanA French artist and British filmmaker are helping to transform this rural community into an outdoor art gallery and are planning to share it with the world.

Throughout this town on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, large photos of local residents and historical figures such as Sitting Bull are plastered on outdoor walls and surfaces.

Known as the Inside Out Project, the goal is to transform messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work, according to insideoutproject.net. People around the world are taking part in the project to share a message about their city.

The man behind the movement is known simply as JR, a Paris native who recently won the TED prize. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and provides a cash prize to “an excep-tional individual” with one wish to change the world.
Comment:  I think this project is conceptually better than Aaron Huey's billboard project. One, photos on random buildings and walls are more eye-catching than billboards. Billboards are easy to ignore when you're driving by at high speed.

Two, the photos show historical as well as modern Indians. This gives viewers a hint of who the modern figures are. It also suggests a continuity between the two. This is more dynamic than a single image with the message "We are still here."

They're both worth a try to raise awareness of Indians. But if the two projects cost the same and I could fund only one, I'd probably go with this one.

For more on the subject, see Billboard Advocate Seeks Donations.

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