Conference / Panel Discussion Worlds of Homelessness: Day 2

Image: have you ever felt invisible © Goethe-Institut/Loredana La Rocca

Wed, 10/23/2019

4:00 PM - 9:00 PM


How can artists engage with homelessness in a meaningful way?

Artists have a different way of seeing and describing the world. Art has often been political, and artists have often raised awareness for social issues through their work.

How have artists engaged in a meaningful way with homelessness? What strategies have they used to engage with communities, or are they part of the communities themselves? What challenges do artists face, and how do they engage with these challenges? What types of artistic engagements with homelessness are problematic, and why? What could be described as best practices?
This panel offers artists and creatives from Los Angeles, Germany, and Brazil a forum to present their methods, practices, and experiences, as well as to engage with each other and the audience to discuss some of these questions. John Malpede and Henriëtte Brouwers of the Los Angeles Poverty Department, which has worked in have engaged with the Skid Row Artist Community for over three decades, realizing the Festival for All Skid Row Artists, as well as award-winning performances, exhibitions and the biennial Walk the Talk parade. Radames Eger grew up in Brazil and moved to Frankfurt, Germany with a dance scholarship. He has experienced homelessness and designs and creates clothes for homeless people, including jackets that can be changed into sleeping bags that he distributes to the community for free. Licko Turle from Brazil has worked with social movements in Brazil, including the „Movimento Sem Teto da Bahia“ as well as the Theatre of the Oppressed. Fabian Debora is an artist who served as a counselor and as Director of Substance Abuses Services & Programming as well as a mentor at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles for a decade and is currently Executive Director of Somos LA Arte- Homeboy Art Academy.


4:00 - 6:00 PM   FILM SCREENINGS
                           LONG STORY SHORT by Natalie Bookchin                           
                           EX°ST by Radames Eger & Jonas Reuter

6:00 - 7:00 PM   Reception 

7:00 - 9:00 PM   Discussion: How can artists engage with homelessness
                                                 in a meaningful way?

Introduction: Goethe-Institut and NAVEL

                       John Malpede und Henriette Brouwers, Los Angeles, USA
                       Radames Eger, Frankfurt, Germany 
                       Licko Turle, Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
                       Fabian Debora, Los Angeles, USA

                       Moderator: Kerem Halbrecht, Berlin, Germany

John Malpede directs, performs, and engineers multi-event projects that have theatrical, installation, public art, and education components. In 1985, he founded Los Angeles Poverty Development (LAPD), a performance group comprised primarily of homeless and formerly homeless people who make art, live, and work on Skid Row. He has produced projects working with communities throughout the US, as well as in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Bolivia. His 2004 work RFK in EKY sought to recreate Robert Kennedy’s 1968 “war on poverty” tour in the course of a four-day, 200-mile series of events focused on historic and current issues and social policy. As a 2008-2009 fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Malpede developed Bright Futures in response to the worldwide financial crisis. In 2013, John Malpede received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In 2014, the Queens Museum of Art in New York City mounted the first retrospective gallery exhibition on the work of the LAPD, which traveled to the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena in 2016.

Henriëtte Brouwers is the Associate Director of the Los Angeles Poverty Department since 2000. She co-directs, produces, and performs in many LAPD performances. Born in the Netherlands, Brouwers has performed, directed and taught throughout the Netherlands, France and the US. In Paris, she became a member of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed group (1979-82) and studied corporeal mime with Etiènne Décroux. In the Netherlands, she founded movement theater ACTA and performed with Shusaku & Dormu Dance Theatre, Grif Theater, Nationaal Fonds, and others. In 1993, the Theatre Project in Baltimore presented her work, “A Traveling Song.” In the same year, 7 Stages theatre invited her to perform the solo “Maya in The Decline and Fall of the Rest” by Jim Grimsley and was movement director for “Blue Monk” by Robert Earl Price for the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta. She performed her solo Malinche and La Lengua, the Tongue of Cortès in the US and the Netherlands and directed a series of devised performances based on the Mexican legend of La Llorona: The Weeping Woman. She is featured in artist Bill Viola’s renowned “The Passions” series. Henriëtte Brouwers worked with John Malpede on the creation of RFK in EKY (2004) a community-based re-enactment of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 trip to investigate poverty in Appalachia.

Los Angeles Poverty Department – LAPD was founded in 1985 by director-performer-activist John Malpede and based in Skid Row, Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) is a non-profit arts organization, the first performance group in the nation made up principally of homeless people, and the first arts program of any kind for homeless people in Los Angeles. LAPD creates performances and multidisciplinary artworks that connect the experience of people living in poverty to the social forces that shape their lives and communities. LAPD’s works express the realities, hopes, dreams, and rights of people who live and work in L.A.’s Skid Row.  John Malpede and Henriëtte Brouwers are co-recipients of the 2018 City of Santa Monica Visual Artist Fellowship.

Radames Eger: I am a fashion designer based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. I was born in Brazil, and for the past 15 years have lived in Europe. Following my career as a ballet dancer, I dedicated myself to the creation of an entirely new world of fashion. My goal has always been to clothe those individuals who need it the most. I create my collection for minority groups like senior citizens, the sick, and the homeless; essentially, anyone who does not fit the fashion world's classic image of beauty. I have declared the commercial fashion world a thing of the past. I conceived my three-week-long EX°ST-Tour through Germany as a vigil and exhibition of my "tent-jacket." I sought to draw attention to the issue of homelessness, and especially in winter, to raise awareness within society so that in the future, no one ever has to die on the street.

Licko Turle was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1960. He is an actor, director, and professor with a master's, doctorate and postdoctoral degrees in Theater. He is a visiting professor in the Graduate Program of the Theater School of the Federal University of Bahia. In 1986, with Augusto Boal, he created the Theatre Center of the Oppressed in Brazil; and created in 1999, with Amir Haddad, the Tá Na Rua Institute for Arts, Education, and Citizenship.  He is the author of three books on Theatre of the Oppressed and four on Street Theater. He has worked in Asia, Europe, Africa, North, Central, and South America and all Brazilian states. He has investigative interest in ethnic-racial areas, street dwellers, Popular Theater, Political Theater, Street Theater, and social movements. He coordinates the events International Conference “Theatre of the Oppressed and the University”, National Meeting of the Brazilian Street Theater Network, and Black Forum of Performing Arts. His current shows as director and co-director in Bahia are: "Essay for Democracy" and "Black Skin, White Masks."  He accompanies the MSTB - Homeless Movement of Bahia, the Articulation of the Old Center of Salvador, the School of Theater in the MST-Perus, São Paulo, SP and the Theater Movement of the Periphery of São Paulo. He currently lives in Salvador, Bahia, where he wants to install the project "Escola de Teatro Negro."

Fabian Debora was born in El Paso, Texas and began his career in 1995 as a member of the East Los Angeles Streetscapers. He was mentored by many Chicano artists and muralists and was introduced to creative expressions of all forms, from graffiti and murals to sketching and fine art painting. Fabian’s work has been showcased in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad, including Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Brooklyn, and throughout Latin America. Fabian served as a counselor and as Director of Substance Abuse Services & Programming as well as a mentor at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles for a decade. He then moved on to work as Community Connection Director at Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network. He is also a teaching artist for ACTA Alliance of traditional Arts; bringing the arts to adult correctional facilities. He also works in collaboration with Latino Producers Action Network (LPAN) as the Art Director and is an instructor for community artists and students throughout Boyle Heights.  He has now become the Executive Director of Somos LA Arte- Homeboy Art Academy perusing and developing his vision to continue to serve greater Los Angeles area and abroad.

Kerem Halbrecht is an architect and a public space producer. He founded 72 Hour Urban Action that created tens of urban interventions with designers and residents in cities around Europe and the Middle East. Kerem is also an architect and co-founder at The Spaceship, a pioneering independent work-live-share space that has become a center of free expression in Tel Aviv since 2007. Recently he co-founded Just Add People, a group that develops formats for playful spatial reflection. Since 2016, Kerem is conducting research and development for the Goethe-Institut in Rotterdam, Kyoto, Los Angeles and Guadalajara for activation of citizen participation in the design and management of the built environment. Kerem has exhibited and presented around the globe, in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Harvard Graduate School of Design, UC Berkeley, MIT Media Lab, and MoMA PS1, among others.