Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ship as Art - One Man’s Message Borne Aboard 13,900 TEU Container Vessel

Freight Boxes Used as Pixels in Collage Hundreds of Metres Long
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – WORLDWIDE – More on last month’s piece about the French container ship transformed into high art by artist JR, who has used 151 containers as pixels to create a visually stunning and thought provoking collage to conclude his ‘Women are Heroes’ project. The CMA CGM Magellan, a 13,900 TEU vessel measuring 365 metre long bears the final chapter of the ‘Women are Heroes’ project which JR started in 2007, to highlight the women who are often targets during conflicts. For this concluding project, the picture that was assembled on the CMA CGM Magellan are the eyes of Elizabeth, a Kenyan woman living in Nairobi’s Kibera slums. Departing for Port of Le Havre, the ship sailed taking Elizabeth’s eyes on the Mediterranean Sea, she will then pass the Suez Canal and head for Asia. Upon the completion of the project, JR said:

“I fulfilled my promise, at 7am, the ship left the Port of Le Havre, France to cross the world all the way to Malaysia. In 2007, I started Women are Heroes to pay tribute to those who play an essential role in society but who are the primary victims of war, crime, rape or political and religious fanaticism. I pasted portraits and eyes of women on a train in Kenya, a Favela in Brazil, [and] a demolished house in Cambodia. They gave their trust and they asked for a single promise; make my story travel with you. I did it: on the bridges of Paris and the walls of Phnom Penh, the building of New York, etc.

“I wanted to finish Women Are Heroes with a ship leaving a port, with a huge image which would look microscopic after a few minutes, with the idea of these women who stay in their villages and face difficulties in the regions torn by wars and poverty facing the infinity of the ocean. It did not happen at the time, but during the last 10 days, we pasted 2600 strips of paper on the containers with the dockers of the port and this morning we saw the ship leaving the port. I have no idea of what is in the other containers on the boat: stuff from people leaving a country to build a different life in another region, goods that will be transformed, worn, eaten in a different country. I have no idea where and how people will see this artwork but I am sure that some women far away will feel something today, and in Le Havre, we are exhausted and proud.”

CMA CGM has put together a short video of the vessel sailing from Le Havre which can be seen HERE whilst JR’s website has a selection of stills from the project.