Home is Where the Art Is- Documenting the Homeless in Miami

Art is universal. This is not merely an abstract art theory but something to be seen in almost every culture, content and walk of life of which I am aware. From etchings on cave walls to white washed walls of galleries, the want to create and compose seems to be a universal impulse.

When twin high school students Alex and Chris Kiener contacted Fawn Review to share their story and project portfolio, I was taken aback by the quality and content of the work in equal measure. The brothers set up Art is Homeless, a project to raise awareness and funds for the homeless community of their native Miami.

Alex and Chris Kiener of 'Art is Homeless'

Alex and Chris Kiener of ‘Art is Homeless’

The Kieners document the life of the Miami homeless with an unnerving eye, never glossing over home truths but rather presenting the reality of homeless life as well as the moments of internal grace and dignity which they spot.

If the purpose of art is to make people stop and look, it is the perfect medium to document the homeless community as it engages the viewer’s eye with situations that they may walk by on a daily basis but choose to avert their gaze from.

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Their project resulted in a sort of photographic census of people who have often long dropped off the radar and memory of formal documentation. Yet the personal moments also give the project the air of being a family photo album, snapping moments of humour, familiarity and raw emotion alike.

The purpose of their project is perhaps best conveyed in their meeting with one man who shared with them his drawings on the back of some cardboard packaging. He explained, that he draws art when he feels lonely. The images show the universal appeal of art which is something so much more instinctive than what we might find in the gallery or the History of Art lecture room.

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A man shares his own artwork with the Kiener brothers, explaining ‘I turn to art when I feel lonely’

To find out more about Art Is Homeless, click here to visit the website, you can also keep up to date with the project by following @art_is_homeless.

If you would like to have your work featured on Fawn Review, click here to see the submissions guidelines and submit via the Facebook page.

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