Kirti Fatania-Bassendine is a fine art photographer and storyteller. Her recent exhibition at Gilroy Arts Center called “Homeless Voices” dispelled the myths around homelessness.
Assembly member of the 30th district, Robert Rivas, who came to the opening reception, was moved by the stories and suggested it to be shown at the State Capitol. So we are excited to feature it on Arts, Culture & Creativity Month Advocacy Day in Sacramento on April 23.
Says Bassendine, “It’s about giving dignity and respect back to these human beings that are going through hardships who need a second chance and for their stories to be heard.”
Faviola Bataz and her family are featured in one of the photographs. They live in the van with her disabled son Alex. After being in the exhibition and in the media with the
Homeless Voices Exhibition, she now has eight counselors working with her and will be getting housing. She said being in the exhibition has given her so much dignity and respect from other homeless friends, who now come and ask her for help!
“Homeless Voices” exhibition is exploring the stories and experiences of the
homeless community. The exhibition combines still photography, story boards and video to provide a multi-faceted insight into local homeless people’s lives and the underlying issues driving homelessness in the Santa Clara Valley.
As we carry out our day to day lives we are oblivious to the struggles of those individuals we encounter. The grocery store cashier, the fast food clerk, the student in the library: anyone of them could be homeless. A medical emergency, financial crisis or natural disaster means any one of us could be facing homelessness in the near future.
The reality of the world we live in is that any one of us is just one day, one moment, one tragedy away from homelessness.
The vision is to create a community space in which to tell the stories of our homeless neighbors with compassion and dignity. The exhibition is designed to put a name to the face of homeless community members in the city and understand their personal stories, removing the preconceptions and false images of what we may assume a homeless person to be, and reminding each other that we are all fellow human beings in need of compassion and respect. the exhibit will be moving to other cities around the Bay Area which are struggling with the same fast-growing issues, such as Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco. In each city more local stories will be documented and added. By making the plight of the homeless population visible, I hope to raise awareness, encourage compassion and help bring in more resources to improve the safety net available to our homeless neighbors and help them get back on their feet.
Kirti Fatania-Bassendine is a fine art photographer currently based in California, Graduated in England with BA Honors In Photography. Her work uses still photography and videography to tell social stories. As an artist she has always been intrigued by human relationships and how they interweave within social and cultural contexts – especially women’s sense of identity and belonging within their culture and the wider world; mother-daughter relationships and passing on culture from one generation to the next; perceptions of homelessness and nomadic ways of life and how they integrate or conflict with modern society; and human-ecological relationships within the landscapes of the US remove the preconceptions and false images of what we may assume a homeless person may be and remind each other that we are all people, human beings, and need compassion.