YMCA Malta presents Ego Sum: Redefining Homelessness – Beyond Labels, Unveiling Humanity’s Collective Identity.
After a year of interviewing 50 individuals who have experienced homelessness, including migrants and refugees living in their shelters and those supported in the community, YMCA Malta has launched the Multi-Venue Exhibition, “Ego Sum: The Face of Homelessness.”
Over several years of working in the field of homelessness, it has become evident that homelessness is a devastating experience that leaves people without direction. It used to be stated that homelessness was the end result of a compilation of social issues, but today it is understood that homelessness can happen to anyone.
Families forced to move due to dilapidated construction or those unable to afford rising rents found themselves living in substandard conditions. Wars and conflicts also forced people to flee their homes. This experience strips away the confidence and motivation of individuals.
“Ego Sum” aims to infiltrate this experience by reminding people experiencing homelessness of their collective selves. In some cases, it brings awareness that they can stop identifying solely with the homeless identity; they are and have more than that. Some are brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, lovers, students, employed, professionals, and they are all around us. What defines them is how they define themselves.
“Ego Sum” emphasizes the collective selves, including self-image, physical descriptions, self-esteem, personal traits, ideal self, and more, as a more significant experience than the sum of its parts.
Through this multi-venue exhibition, partly funded by the Art Council Malta, YMCA Malta aims to demonstrate that being homeless or roofless is only a chapter in one’s life. Homelessness or rooflessness does not define who a person is. Someone can be experiencing homelessness, but they can also be a doctor, a parent, an artist, a chef, or a footballer.
These realities are showcased through an artistic process that delved into the existential and categorical selves, resulting in an artistic portrait campaign presented in a multi-venue exhibition, culminating in a final collage entitled “The Face of Homelessness.”
Efforts must continue to find solutions to this issue and support those who are struggling.
The walk-through exhibition features artistic sketches by Rachel Bowman and photography by Tyler Calleja Jackson, both Maltese artists inspired by interviews with 50 homeless individuals. Together with Sofiya Chuzhda and Gwennaelle Viard, they created the artistic representation of “The Face of Homelessness.”