The TED Prize offices have been full of anticipation and energy as we prepared for this announcement. The winner of the 2011 TED Prize is someone you may not know, but once you see his mind blowing creations and learn about his work, I have no doubt you will understand our choice -- and want to get involved in his "Wish to Change the World".
The winner of the 2011 TED Prize is JR, a provocative and enigmatic artist who puts a human face on some of the most critical social issues of our day and redefines how we view, make and display art.
He is someone who uses the world's streets to make "Pervasive Art" that captivates people and inspires them to participate in his creations. Working with a team of friends, volunteers and community residents, JR pastes giant black-and-white photo canvases that spread on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle East, on the broken bridges in Africa, and in the favelas of Brazil.
JR's work embodies the spirit of the TED community: innovation, creativity, social conscience, leadership and vision. His work is about unlocking the power of possibility, revealing our true selves to those who live around us and then sharing those stories far and wide. He invites communities to participate in his work and erases the line between creator and spectator. An elderly woman becomes model for a day, kids turn into artists for a week, and everyone can use their walls as gallery space (no matter their condition).
People call JR a street artist, but in reality he is someone who makes art in the streets. He does this because his art, as he told me, is art for the people; they get to decide whether they will hang it and participate in the process.
We are thrilled to begin working with him to develop his wish to change the world. From our very first meeting it was clear that he wants to engage a global community - for the pure goal of making art and spurring a social movement.
JR's wish will be revealed on March 2nd, 2011 at the TED Conference. He has already moved all of us at TED, and however his wish develops, we have no doubt he will move you too - perhaps even to pick up some glue, a shovel or a paintbrush. Stay tuned, and I hope you will join us next year...