The high photographic concept of Face2Face, unleashed on the public by the undercover artists JR and Marco this month, already is drawing double takes and a few guffaws wherever in Israel or Palestine their huge posters are unfurled.
As a serious conflict resolution method, an exhibit that replaces big guns with outsized gurns is a bit naive and its impact will be tough to measure. But anything that brings the odd smile to these mean mixed streets is welcome indeed.
Black and white portraits of Palestinians and Israelis doing the same jobs are juxtoposed in huge formats, in "unavoidable places" around the Holy Land. It is an openhearted effort to point out the common humanity shared by the people here. The artists insist that they favor a 2-country solution where "Israel and Palestine would live peacefully within safe and internationally recognized borders."
The seed of the project took just a week to germinate, according to the artists' website. A documentary on its impact will follow soon.
"These people look the same; they speak almost the same language, like twin brothers raised in different families...A religious covered woman has her twin sister on the other side. A farmer, a taxi driver, a teacher, has his twin brother in front of him. And he is endlessly fighting with him.
It's obvious, but they don't see that.
We must put them face to face. They will realize."
Click on this link to see the portraits, and to appreciate the bold decision every one of these subjects took when agreeing to be photographed. Or if you live in the edgy areas, just go outside and open your eyes!