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Your Life, Our Life; Our Lives

November 13th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Exhibition in the Annex shows what it means to be homeless

Visitors to the Beit Zatoun House view Your Life, Our Life, a new exhibition exploring what it means to be homeless. Photo by Kristin Eliason

By Kristin Eliason

In the heart of the Annex lives a place with a lot of the same.

The Beit Zatoun House (612 Markham Street), is a space where the social justice and human rights community gather for performance and art. It holds multiple events per month, ranging from workshops to concerts, talks and book launches.

Robert Massoud, its founder, describes the space as, “…the intersection of art, culture, politics and society, in a very grassroots kind of way.”

This philosophy made Beit Zatoun House an easy choice for co-creators Alexandra Gater and Hala Sayed when deciding on a location for their new show Your Life, Our Life.

Showing until Oct 7, Your Life, Our Life features photographs from youth at Touchstone Youth Centre (1076 Pape Avenue). Their photos centre around different aspects of what it means to be a homeless youth.

“I wanted people to see that everybody is different and our lives are just like theirs. You’re going to find people of every sort everywhere you go and we’re just the same.” – Samantha Crozier, photographer

Working as summer outreach workers for the organization HEYY (Hearing Every Youth through Youth), both Gater and Sayed said they were inspired by conversations they had while giving a workshop at Touchstone.

They said the youth felt judged, misunderstood, and excluded from the community.

“My goal,” Gater explained, “was to give the youth a voice in a community that they didn’t feel a part of.”

Empowerment through art and freedom of expression is the path they chose towards their goal.

Youth were given disposable cameras and the theme of the show was left up to them. Their decision to take pictures that represented themselves and their lives led them to the title of their show.

The end result is an exhibition of photos ranging from youth working or at the centre, to others capturing images of homeless life and personal experience.

One photographer, Samantha Crozier, displayed a lone dandelion with the caption, ‘this is how I feel… how a lot of youth feel; alone and not helped.’

Many of her photos sold right away.

“I’m happy that people love my photos,” said Crozier, “I wanted people to see that everybody is different and our lives are just like theirs. You’re going to find people of every sort everywhere you go and we’re just the same.”

Sayed agrees. “I hope that [with this show] some of those stigmas will be reconsidered,” she said.

For more information on Beit Zatoun House, HEYY or Touchstone Youth Centre, please visit their websites at beitzatoun.org, heyy.net and touchstoneyc.org

Tags: Annex · Arts

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  • 1 Your Life, Our Life; Our Lives | kristineliasonblog // Nov 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm

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