JR faces Atlanta



About a dozen people have gathered at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Hilliard Street in Old Fourth Ward to watch today’s most talked about street artist put up a mural. JR, as the Parisian artist is known, climbs the frame of a three-story scaffold, maneuvering around its bars and through each landing’s hatch like it’s a jungle gym. JR’s preferred medium is wheatpaste, essentially gluing a paper image to a wall. His team of assistants follows one by one, quickly filling in the levels below him. The 30-foot-by-40-foot black-and-white photograph is unfurled in long strips, slowly revealing a trio of young men carrying signs, one of which says, “NO MORE HUNGER.”

The image is a reproduction of a Steven Blum photograph from the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968, a civil rights demonstration envisioned by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and realized shortly after King’s death. A few hours later and a couple of blocks down the road at Edgewood Avenue and Hilliard Street, JR and his team begin swift work on a second mural. This one’s a dramatic still from the 1963 March on Washington taken by Flip Schulke. The opportunity to commemorate this month’s 50th anniversary of the march and MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech in the neighborhood where the civil rights hero grew up is what piqued JR’s interest in Atlanta, and ultimately helped Living Walls get him here. click here 


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