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These days we have witnessed a rather impressive new project in Paris, entitled ‘ETRE ou AVOIR: INSIDE OUT PROJECT’ (TO BE or TO HAVE) Paris. Continuing the strong project created by French artist JR, raising social awareness, a team of volunteers has plastered high fashion stores on the famous Rue Montaigne in Paris, in time for Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013, with portraits of young men from Sierra Leone.

Started in Berlin this summer, the project has moved on to Paris now.

TO BE or TO HAVE is the main question raised by the project.

“Burning Borders and Building Bridges…..

….. is about creating an awareness by inviting people into each other’s different realities. We are all privileged in one way or the other; be it in terms of materialistic goods or intangible assets, such as spirit, soul, joy and happiness.

We built a bridge by putting 2 extremes that at first glance do not belong together into context. We confront 2 individuals that each have 5000 to spend: the woman going to Avenue Montaigne to spend €5000 on a luxury accessory meets long life, base or heaven gate that has SLL 5000 to spend on his next meal. When building a bridge two far extremes are what give it balance and make it stand and sustain.
“To be or to have?” is he question we want to raise…………… from Freetown to Berlin to Paris….
“Who is rich or poor?

All is a matter of perspective.

Looking into the eyes of these guys is a gateway into another reality- one that exudes victory and strength, one that is empowering and inspiring.

Sierra Leonean diamonds are always cut with fierce force. These boys are diamonds that have been cut……these cuts have been deep, painful and strong. It made them who they are and gave shape to something that is now being polished in order to shine and reflect the light in all its facetted.”

If you are in Paris at the moment, you can witness the project live. Otherwise flip through the above gallery to get an idea, to participate, to get involved and be made aware.

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