Women Are Heroes, Sierra Leone
Freetown & Bo, Sierra Leone
Women Are Heroes, Freetown & Bo, Sierra Leone, 2008
JR went to Sierra Leone in 2008 as part of his project Women are Heroes. Broken by the civil war, which officially ended in 2002, the country had the lowest Human Development Index (taking into account life expectancy, literacy rate and purchasing power) in the world. Health insecurity and constant violence inside households were undermining social emancipation.
In 2007, the government implemented measures to try to reduce violence against women. JR went on the spot and was confronted with the stories of the past, that were still engraved in people's memories. The women JR met told him about events that had had a profound effect on their lives, and they expressed feelings that they had often kept silent for years.
Displaying their portraits in the streets was an act of resistance, a way to show their humanity through a facial expression that they chose, depending on whether they wanted to express their suffering or their resilience, a tear or a smile. This experience allowed those women to rebuild themselves by being the main actresses of their existences.