Wanderers, drifters, vagrants… Often misunderstood and casually overlooked, are the main subject of Leunam Zirdma’s current body of work; those who struggle to belong, who lack a voice to be heard, their daily sustenance, or even just a place of peace. This black and white series of photographs catches the metropolitan gypsies that cohabitate our city in their daily wandering. We see them on our streets, along riverbeds, railways, under bridges; human suffering on heartbreaking display. Through this body of work; Zirdma’s debut with CuratorLove, he urges us to take a conscious look at the epidemic reality of this humanitarian crisis in the city of Angels.
About 60,000 people in the City of Angels are considered homeless today. On any given night, only a fourth will find a shelter, the rest will try their luck on the streets. Mental illness, domestic abuse and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the leading factors of homelessness in the US, some of our most vulnerable citizens struggle everyday to emerge from homelessness and rebuild their lives. Experiencing suffering from the hardship of their condition, but also phased with alienation and discrimination fueled by stereotypes. Common misconceptions are very problematic, as they contribute to the stigmatization of a population that is already marginalized. In a society that seems eager to forget everything itinerant, Zirdma shines a light reminding us that we should not forget. #TheyStillMatter
Skid Row, in downtown LA; is located west of Alameda Street, east of Main Street, south of Third Street, and north of Seventh Street. Historically, it has been home to a transient population since the late 1800s because it supported saloons, residential hotels, and other social services, which drew people to congregate in the area. Today, Skid Row contains between 5,000 to 8,000 people living in a state of homelessness, one of the largest populations in the United States. As part of this exhibition, the proceeds from sales will go directly toward feeding the homeless population of Skid Row.
Co-curated by Lorena Gamboa, BA. & Erika Hirugami, MAAB.