Seen and liked: INSIDE OUT – the world’s largest participatory art project

Victoria’s collective commitment – ‘Community for a clean coast’

The other morning, I went for a walk along the 762-metre concrete breakwater at Ogden Point in Victoria, B.C – a deep water port facility with four piers and currently the busiest cruise ship port-of-call in Canada. Built in 1916, the breakwater is home to Na’Tsa Mahat – the Unity Wall mural that depicts the art of local First Nations. To my surprise our breakwater looked very different that very morning as it had been ‘decorated’ with large beautiful black and white portraits. Who were these people, I wondered, and what was their message? 

“Our Community is a diverse group of individuals, living on or near the Salish Sea, who hold in common our commitment to maintaining the health of the coast upon which we live, work, and play. We have given our portraits to this project and our support to this coast. (…) We spread those portraits along the Ogden Point Breakwater in an expression of our shared value of this coast, and our collective commitment to keep it clean.”

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About the INSIDE OUT Project

 Launched by artist JR in Paris, France, the INSIDE OUT Project is the world’s largest participatory art project. It is a global platform for people to share their stories and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art. After winning the TED prize at the TED Conference in Long Beach California in 2011, JR expressed his wish for us all “to stand up for what (we) care about and, together, turn the world inside out.” Out of this wish grew the INSIDE OUT Project, through which participants share large format personal photographic portraits in public places as statements of the things they stand for.

 Each INSIDE OUT Group Action around the world is documented, archived and exhibited online; the Project has travelled from Ecuador to Nepal, from Mexico to Palestine, inspiring group actions on varied themes such as hope, diversity, gender-based violence, and climate change.

An INSIDE OUT Group Action is created when local leaders commit to launching their own independently organized project somewhere in the world. Each project centres on a group statement, with participants demonstrating their commitment to that statement, the Action’s focus, through the sharing of their personal portrait.

Victoria’s INSIDE OUT Project Group Action is called ‘Community for a clean coast’

The group action highlights a community of people who care deeply about their costal waters. This community’s lives – our lives – are affected by the ocean’s health. Today, that ocean health is in need of our attention and this community not only cares about, but is deeply connected to their ocean and motivated to act to ensure its healthy future.

Please visit communityforacleancoast.org for more information.

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Photographs by Daniela Herold (copyright 2014)