The People’s Family: a homeless family as an art intervention

A homeless family as an art installation:  Between political art and doing art politically…

It’s Christmas but not for Nabil, Yifat and Gaia, a homeless family. Being the last family at the Arab-Jewish Camp for Social Justice, the municipal government is kicking them out. I have known them for several months, and have worked with Gaia on an art project that is about to be exhibited in a youth gallery nearby. The hungry artist image is getting here hyper real colours, and they are all shades of blue. A room, with no windows or electricity is waiting empty at Beit Ha’am (the people’s home),  the protest movement for social justice’s headquarters. It just happens that it is waiting for an exhibition I am supposed to curate with my art students. Nabil calls and asks if they could stay there for a few nights until they find a solution. The answer is no, because the centre is for public use only and not for living. As an emergency response I cancel the student show and tell the headquarters that instead there is going to be a one week performance, a take on Marina  Abramovic’s  The Artist Is Present. Here the artist, Gaia, won’t be there all the time, she will stay on and off with friends. In any case, nobody will be able to bear more than a few seconds of sitting and looking into the so clever and so sad eyes of a 12 year old child. However, the performance will not be just 8 hours a day, but 24/7. There will be five o’clock tea (not English, but more Bedouin style); Nabil and Yifat will discuss the life of a homeless family in a city where thousands of flats are lying empty; a large scale mural will be painted, with guided tours by Gaia and me in the on-site exhibition of the project “Gaia & Hassan Draw(in) the Protest”. And in the end there was much more.

For a short film about “Gaia & Hassan Draw(in) the Protest” please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSD_FkCtGFU

For a news report about the project see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMdyK4hVkoE