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Valeriia di Jr around Rome: “Art can change the world”


The blow-up of Valeriia, the Ukrainian girl whose image went around the world, went around Rome thanks to over 100 volunteers who responded to the appeal of the French artist Jr who had made an appointment at 12 to the Roman public for an artistic and symbolic action, around the monumental portrait. This project, orchestrated together with the French Embassy in Italy, also accompanies the conclusion of the artist’s installation on the façade of Palazzo Farnese, still visible for a few days. After having unfolded the blow-up of Valeriia for the first time with the suggestive background of San Pietro, the considerable procession started in the direction of Piazza Farnese, passing through Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II and then in via dei Ballauri. There, on the emblematic Piazza Farnese, the portrait of Valeriia met another work well known by the Romans and tourists, made just over a year ago by the same artist on the facade of Palazzo Farnese, seat of the French Embassy. But above all, to welcome the artist, the volunteers and the monumental portrait of little Valeriia, were present Christian Masset, Ambassador of France in Italy, Yaroslav Melnyk, Ambassador of Ukraine in Rome, as well as representatives of many European embassies in Rome with the flags of their country to show their support for Ukraine. All together, they wanted to come together to greet this initiative in a moment not only of creation but also of great solidarity. Masset underlined the highly symbolic value of this project: “Valeriia’s face reminds us that behind this unjustifiable and unjustified aggression, there is an entire people with their desire for freedom and children who want to live their lives. Valeriia us shows that in the end life wins. This gathering to bring and unfold the portrait of Valeriia underlines that we are close to the Ukrainian people and their desire to protect their freedom and to choose their own destiny “. There were therefore many today in the Roman capital. to share the conviction of the French artist Jr that “art can change the world ‘”. It is with this conviction that Jr creates ephemeral installations and actions on the streets of the whole world, transforming urban space for twenty years with his monumental collages that invade cities with faces and gazes, photographed in black and white. From the Brazilian favellas to the border between Mexico and the United States, his artistic creations take on a symbolic social and symbolic dimension, in addition to their aesthetic presence. Often, citizens are invited to join him for symbolic actions, offering a personal and artistic echo to the current events of our times. went to Lviv, a Ukrainian city 70 kilometers from the Polish border, to unveil the giant picture of Valeriia, a Ukrainian refugee girl, only 5 years old. The image hit the front page of Time magazine the same week. The story begins a few days earlier, when Ukrainian photographer Artem Iurchenko sends Jr the portrait he took of Valeriia as the girl fled, together with her mother, from her city of Kryvyi Rih in the center of the country, towards Poland. Moved by the image of this smiling little girl, JR immediately decides to print it in giant format – 45 x 15 meters -, and to go to Lviv where he has unrolled the printed canvas, together with a hundred people, in front of the Opera House in Lviv This action was then repeated in Paris, Berlin, Munich and also in Venice on the occasion of the Biennale of contemporary art and now also in the Roman capital.


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