Artist and professor Willie Baronet uses his collection of more than 1,400 homeless signs to raise awareness; accompanying documentary set for Sept. 18
The Indiana University Northwest campus and the greater Northwest Indiana community are invited to view the exhibit “We Are All Homeless,” in the Gallery for Contemporary Art, located in the Savannah Center. The exhibit runs from August 26 through October 18. Supplementing the exhibit will be two screenings of the artist’s accompanying “We Are All Homeless” award-winning documentary, “Signs of Humanity,” that explores inter-related themes of home, homelessness, compassion, and humanity, at noon and 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18 in the Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium. Artist and professor Willie Baronet has purchased more than 1,400 homeless signs over the past 24 years, and he uses this collection to create installations to raise awareness about homelessness. In the summer of 2014, Baronet and three filmmakers drove across the country, interviewing more than 100 people on the streets and purchasing more than 280 signs. “Signs of Humanity” is a film about that trip. In the gallery, an artist reception and talk is planned for noon to 3 p.m., Monday, Oct. 7. Baronet’s project, “We Are All Homeless,” began in 1993 when he pulled up to an intersection and encountered a person holding a sign and asking for help. “Like many, I wrestled with whether or not I was doing good by giving them money,” Baronet explained. “Mostly I struggled with my moral obligations, and how my own choices contributed in conscious or unconscious ways to the poverty I was witnessing. I struggled with the unfairness of the lives people are born into, the physical, mental and psychological handicaps. In my struggle, I avoided eye contact with those on the street, unwilling to really see them, and in doing so avoided seeing parts of myself. That began to change once I began asking them if they would sell their signs. My relationship to the homeless has been powerfully and permanently altered.” That encounter prompted what became more than 30 art installations since 2009 in the U.S. and U.K. and has been featured by the media all over the world, including Yahoo! News, NPR – All Things Considered, HuffPost, Al Jazeera America, Buzzfeed and others. The IU Northwest Gallery for Contemporary Art is open to the public from noon to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The gallery is located in the Savannah Center neighboring the IU Northwest Book Store. For information about parking policies at IU Northwest, visit http://www.iun.edu/parking/visitors-and-guests/index.htm. For more information, contact Lauren Pacheco at 219-981-5627 or [email protected]
About Indiana University Northwest
One of eight campuses of Indiana University, IU Northwest is located in metropolitan Northwest Indiana, approximately 30 miles southeast of Chicago and 10 miles from the Indiana Dunes National Park. The campus has a diverse student population of approximately 4,000 degree-seeking students and 1,500 dual-credit students. The campus offers Associate, Baccalaureate and Master’s degrees in a variety of undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional degree options available from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Health and Human Services, the School of Business and Economics, the School of the Arts and the School of Education. The campus is also host to IU School of Medicine-Northwest-Gary, which actively involves students in research and local healthcare needs through its four-year medical doctorate program. IU Northwest emphasizes high-quality teaching, faculty and student research and engagement on campus and in the community. As a student-centered campus, IU Northwest is committed to academic excellence characterized by a love of ideas and achievement in learning, discovery, creativity and engagement. Indiana University Northwest is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to achieving excellence through diversity. The University actively encourages applications from women, minorities, veterans, persons with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented groups.