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TED 2011 winner: JR is a street artist papering the world with his photographs

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The artist. (JR/Agence VU)

Giant eyes stare from the roofs of tin shanties in Brazil. Huge grins decorate the divide between Palestine and Israel. The work of street artist JR captivates areas of the world not usually known for their adornment.

The TED conference group has just awarded JR its 2011 prize, worth $100,000 for "wishes big enough to change the world."

The award notice reads: "His work is presented freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not museum visitors. His work mixes Art and Action; it talks about commitment, freedom, identity and limit."

The semi-anonymous artist -- who goes only by his initials -- has been plastering cities from Paris to Nairobi since 2001.

TED prize director Amy Novogratz said in a phone interview: "We're looking for someone who has already changed the world. Someone that will really inspire the TED community. Someone's whose work already affects the world."

JR's work connects the viewer with the face of the people in communities that many outsiders might be wary to enter. "Oftentimes with stories and images people don't want to look at, he lures you into it," Novogratz said.

On March 2, JR will take the TED stage in Long Beach, Calif., to explain how he plans to use his winnings.

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(JR/Agence VU)
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(JR/Agence VU)
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(JR/Agence VU)

Here's a trailer made by JR for his project "Women are Heroes:"

By Melissa Bell  | October 20, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Picture Shows  
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