JR's incredible new Olympics art revealed!
The French artist has pioneered an entirely new technique to bring images of lesser-known athletes to the games
The 27-year-old Sudan-born, Cologne-based high jumper Mohamed Younes Idriss is a world-class athlete. He represented his country at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Athletics, and won gold at the 2011 All Africa Games.
He didn’t quite qualify for the 2016 Olympics, yet he has managed to get to Rio in one sense, thanks to the French visual artist and social activist JR.
JR unveiled this fully completed scaffold portrait of Mohamed mid-jump a few hours ago, alongside another piece, depicting an as-yet unidentified athlete, poised to dive into the sea beside the city's Barra neighbourhood.
Mohamed’s huge portrait, which rests atop an apartment block in the centre of Rio, was created using a entirely new scaffold and stretched print technique, yet it forms part of JR’s on-going Inside Out Project, a public art initiative that aims to raise the visibility of less-prominent figures in society.
In the past Inside Out has focused on the Kichwa Indians of Ecuador, the participants of the Occupy movement in the US, and the LGBT community in Russia. However, JR has also drawn attention to the role immigrants play in our society and, as the Olympics prepares to welcome its first refugee team, JR seems to be showing us the ones who didn’t quite make the cut for the games, but managed to get there nevertheless, thanks to his eye-catching public art.