art as voice

it is beautiful when art gives voice to the voiceless and serves a purpose much larger than itself.

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“I just finished installing a project that I have been working on since the new year commissioned by The Royal Ontario Museum and the Contact Photography Festival. The work has all been installed inside the Museum, as part of Housepaint, a larger project more specifically about homelessness and shelter. And for the purposes of working in my usual way and to create a juxtaposition between indoor and outdoor, I have also put the work up illegally in numerous spots around Toronto.

The project is called the Unaddressed and it focuses on the under-housed, giving voice to their personal opinions. Over the course of 3 months I met with 18 individuals who are currently or have recently been homeless. Through meeting, talking about their lives and discussing issues that were important to them, they developed their announcements and created a cardboard sign to reveal them. By photographing homeless and formerly homeless individuals holding cardboard signs that announce their concerns, the hope is challenge preconceived notions of homelessness and make the passers-by realize how serious the situation is and that everybody deserves the same basic necessities of life and to be treated the same way. Basically do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This was definitely the hardest project that I have worked on in terms of trying to get it right, as you guys like to say. I want the viewer to feel compassion for these individuals and others like them, without feeling pity. I wanted the subjects to feel empowered without being exploited. I wanted the work to have presence in its aesthetic, yet hold true to the fact that these people often blend into the background when they are out in the city.”…. Dan

(via wooster collective)

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