BEING THERE is a multi-disciplinary project that reflects on the notion of homelessness from the unique perspective of artists who have experienced it first-hand. The project includes a visual art exhibition and a series of live performance and video screenings accompanied by public talks.
Michael Deegan uses painting and drawing to convey the grim reality of homelessness and the trauma it inevitably inflicts on anyone who experiences it. His artwork serves as an omen and a wake up call for an indifferent society. Marcus Moore creates short narrative video art in which he instills himself, either in disguise or by narrating animated objects he crafts from found objects. These video shorts, which at first glance appear to be whimsical and humorous, deeply explore the relationships between homelessness and a vast array of social, political and environmental issues. Maaji Newbold writes poignant poems that speak of social constructs and the importance of knowing one’s essence. As part of the project, she will also perform a new original short play she wrote. Finally, Yael Ben-Zion presents the work that sparked the artists’ collective – a series of large format still-life photographs and a video work she created in collaboration with the other participants.
BEING THERE will be on exhibit from June 1 to 30th, with the following public programming:
- June 5th (3 pm): Screening of a selection of Marcus Moore’s short videos, followed by an artist talk.
- June 12th (3 pm): Screening of Conversations, a film by Yael Ben-Zion, featuring Michael Deegan and Maaji Newbold, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Veronica Liu of Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
- June 26th (3pm): A short play by Maaji Newbold, followed by a public talk.
With the Covid-19 pandemic pushing millions more Americans into poverty and out of their homes, BEING THERE uses art to humanize unhoused people while raising critical questions about our society’s values and priorities. Ultimately, the exhibition is meant to offer a platform for a more inclusive, informed and constructive dialogue about homelessness.
Marcus Moore is an activist, multi-media artist and board member of Picture the Homeless (PTH), a Harlem-based grassroots organization founded and led by unhoused people; Maaji Newbold is a poet and actress with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC; Michael Deegan is a Lantern Community Services’ resident, and self-taught painter; Yael Ben-Zion is a Washington Heights based visual artist and educator.
BEING THERE is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, a regrant program supported by NYC Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by LMCC.