Welcome Home

curated by Jeroen Stevens

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Alex Anderson (and the Reentry Theater of Harlem) - Gregory Frederick - Bruce Blake - Felix Guzman - Iman LeCaire - André P. - Joshua Lopez
Revolving doors between mass-incarceration and homelessness are plaguing American cities. More than half of New York's adult black men are currently under correctional control ? in prison or jail, on probation or parole. Allegedly "free," but labeled as "felons" for life, those impacted by the so-called "justice" system remain fundamentally barred from mainstream society. Survivors of correctional confinement are almost ten times more likely than their fellow citizens to subsequently find themselves unhoused. In turn, rampant criminalization of homelessness increases the risk of winding up behind bars again. Carceral correction and custodial care deeply intertwine, as welfare is steadily substituted by "prisonfare" and "shelterfare". Rooted in systemic inequality, this revolving door between incarceration and homelessness arguably masks one of the world's most sophisticated racial segregation doctrines.

This exhibition mobilizes art as a radically transformative tool for healing trauma and rehumanizing the 21st century's urban "outcast". Combining photography, poetry, painting, storytelling and performance, directly impacted artists interrogate the intersection of punitive oppression and emancipatory struggles for justice. Welcome Home claims the gallery as a pedestal to display and debate the rampant hostility and acute need for hospitality in the urban environments we collectively construct. What kind of "welcome home" does one encounter when coming home homeless? And which pathways towards a more just urban world are spearheaded by avant-garde grassroots actions?
Jeroen Stevens is professor in urbanism & housing at the KU Leuven, Belgium. He formerly was a Fulbright-BAEF Fellow at Columbia University. His research and teaching are contingent on collaboration with emancipatory social movements that push the frontiers of social justice in cities as São Paulo, Brussels and New York.