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Artist covers Paris Panthéon with hundreds of selfies

© Photo: AFP

Video by Johan BODIN , Olivia SALAZAR-WINSPEAR

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-10

The Panthéon in Paris, a secular temple dedicated to the "great men of the republic", is playing host to the faces of thousands of unknown men, women and children.

The pictures on both the inside and outside of the vast monument in the heart of the French capital are a stark contrast to the sober reverence of the building, where “great men” of French arts and letters have been at rest for more than 200 years.

Creating contemporary art within the hallowed walls of a neo-classical building is no mean feat, said street artist JR, the brains behind the exhibition.

“What I wanted to do was bring all these faces together, faces from all over the world,” he told FRANCE 24. “To show that there's strength in unity and through these faces, we're all part of the same thing.

The collage features more than 400 pictures of anonymous participants, who sent their photos to the artist, or popped into the photo truck to get their portrait done.

Philippe Bélaval, head of the French centre of national arts, said the exhibition went to to the core of French Republican values: “It is liberty, equality and fraternity. And JR's approach, his work, is in that spirit of citizenship, everyone's included in the work."

Date created : 2014-06-09

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