English Traduction - PatchWork 2
ItineRRances is an artistic project initiated by the non profit organisation “Bulle”, in partnership with several actors of the Brussels associative network.
Thanks to the involvement of eleven photographers and reporters, this collaborative exhibition offers a multiplicity of views on homelessness experienced on a daily basis. Shuffled between the various aid services and public administrations, people in precarious situations have no choice but to pace their weekly itinerary according to the schedules of the institutions they frequent.
Through four themes (hygiene & health, access to housing, violence & addictions and social & cultural), ItineRRances pays tribute to people who are wandering, here and elsewhere, and to all the actors on the ground.
This exhibition is intended to be nomadic, scattered around the capital, in order to occupy public space as much as possible.
Thanks to all the photographers; Andréas Athanassiadis, Emily Bendib, Anatole Damien, Florence Detienne, Julien Dewarichet, Yvan Fonsny, Vera Keraudren, Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing, Stéfanne Prijot, Chloé Thôme et Sarah Verlaine.
And our partners: Bouche à Oreille, Dune, Les 3 Pommiers, L’Ilot, RestoJet, Rolling Douche et Street&Read.
Anyone can end up on the street at some point. Financial difficulties, family and domestic violence, accessibility and availability of housing, relationship breakdowns and health problems are just some of the many reasons why people find themselves in a difficult situation. Homelessness is complex and not simply a lack of housing. We do not claim to have all the answers, but we hope to raise awareness and ask the right questions.
HYGIENE, AN ESSENTIAL NEED
HOUSING, A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
Hygiene is linked to our body, to our intimacy, and therefore also to our identity. It is a basic need that also impacts on health, and to which every human being should have access, free of charge. This is an essential need, but one that is not easily accessible to the 5313 homeless or poorly housed people (living in unhealthy accommodation) counted in the capital (figure taken from the latest count on 9/11/2020, by Brusshelp in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation). The hygiene of the body is the first thing one offers to the people in front of one. If you don’t have a good self-image, what must the other person think of you? Because feeling good about your body is also a way of having a positive perception of yourself and thus feeling integrated in society.
We all need a roof over our heads, a place to rest, to take care of ourselves, to feel safe, to feel at home. Housing is therefore a fundamental right. However, today in Belgium, thousands of people are sleeping on the streets. Thousands of people cannot afford to pay their rent. Thousands of people live in unhealthy housing, or housing that is too small, and thousands of others are afraid that they will not be able to find housing or re-housing in decent conditions. Finding sustainable housing is therefore often a long and arduous journey: there are too many conditions, too many steps. This is why solutions are emerging, such as the AIS (Agence Immobilière Sociale), or the Housing First method.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL INTERACTION
VIOLENCE AND ADDICTION
Social isolation often hits as hard as poverty. On the streets, the days are long and the nights far from restful. Feeling expected, listened to and considered is essential to keep your spirits up and to avoid sinking. Human contact is sometimes as invigorating as a meal or a warm night. So how do you keep yourself busy and organise your time when you are in a precarious situation? Facilitating access to culture, reading books, taking part in art workshops, and (re)constructing a clothing identity are all ways of (re)creating social links, keeping one’s mind occupied and, in this way, escaping a little.
The collective imagination often associates homelessness with street violence and addictions of all kinds. However, this is neither a general rule nor an inevitability! As in every social environment, these notions coexist. Many people in precarious situations have the will to get out of it. The important thing is to reduce the risks and to inform about good practices. Unfortunately, the frequent visits to the streets and precarious housing lead to stress, cold, addictions and violence, which damage the homeless. Their bodies bear the marks of this. To protect themselves, they hide in the crowd and become invisible.
Nadia, in her cocoon, dreaming of the colours of the autumn leaves
After a very difficult journey in search of a sustainable home, Nadia has finally found her home. With the help of L’ILOT, she has settled into her flat in Jette and can finally call it home, in the company of her cats, whom she adores.
L’ILOT’s mission is to respond to the needs of homeless people and people in very precarious situations by organising a range of basic services, reception and temporary accommodation, the creation and collection of dignified and sustainable housing solutions, as well as home guidance for recently rehoused people.
G. has been living in a garage for some time following a series of setbacks. He takes advantage of the Rolling Douche services to use their toilets and socialise with other beneficiaries.
Rolling Douche is a mobile hygiene service, with 4 social workers and a few volunteers, which offers showers to homeless people three times a week using a motorhome entirely dedicated to this specific task. It also offers a cloakroom, but also hot drinks and snacks and a social permanence, to listen to the requests and answer them as much as possible. Our ultimate goal is to end homelessness. To achieve this, since September 2021, the team of social workers has been working to provide housing for our public.
Christian, a garden architect, had to stop working 7 years ago due to throat cancer.
“I worked for 40 years. It was hard to stop.
He is a regular at the art workshop at RestoJet: “I like to come. It allows me to pass my time and to change my mind and I like the contact with others.
Magali, in her thirties, was affected by brain cancer at the age of nine. “Today, it’s a handicap that you can’t see, but I’m not allowed to work. This is the first time she has participated in the art workshop at RestoJet and she plans to return.
Plastic art as an oxygen bubble
At 2.30 p.m., on the second floor of the ASBL RestoJet, the art workshop begins. Seven people are already seated, pencil or brush in hand. The flash green walls of the room stand out against the paintings on the wall.
In the background on the right, a man is painting a garden gnome. It is Christian. He comes here once a week. “I like to come. It allows me to pass my time and take my mind off things, and I like the contact with others,” he explains with a Dutch accent and a trembling voice. A garden architect, he had to stop working seven years ago because of throat cancer. “I worked for 40 years. It was hard to stop. As he continues to paint, he turns to Brenda, the art teacher: “Look Brenda, I’ve already painted the beard. She replies: “The white here is good. The eyes still need to be done in blue,” she said.
Brenda has been working here since the workshop’s inception, for 10 years. “I give advice, I teach the technique but the aim is for everyone to have their own style and to make what they want. Otherwise, it’s a bit like school. So I accompany him in his choice. The workshops are free and open to all on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Fridays, Brenda organises a cultural outing: a boat trip, a cinema or outdoor games.
This is a first for Magali
“I would like a canvas to draw my landscape,” explains Magali. This woman in her thirties was affected by brain cancer at the age of 9. “Today, it’s a handicap that you can’t see, but I’m not allowed to work. This is the first time she has taken part in this workshop. “I watch a lot of the Tour de France and at the moment the cyclists are passing through Brittany. I saw a beautiful landscape that I took a picture of. Showing her phone, Magali says she would like to draw a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. Participating in art workshops is a real oxygen bubble for her.
“I tell myself that I have talent, it’s gratifying.
Antonio is Italian and is a regular visitor. He has been attending the workshops for two years. He is reproducing a drawing of ibexes on two pots of paint. “I love nature. I like to draw the sea and the desert,” he explains, adding a layer of green to his drawing. “Brenda, I have clouds on my drawing. How can I make them go away? “You have to put a second layer,” she says. Four years ago, Antonio had a burn out. He came here to get his life back on track. “It gave me a taste for creation again. I didn’t know I could do that. I put my problems aside and my head is empty. When I leave, I tell myself that I have one more talent, which is gratifying.
5pm, it’s time to pack up. “Brenda, can I put my garden gnome on your desk,” asks Christian. As for Magali, she packs her things into her big black backpack. “For a first time, I thought it was very nice. I’ll be back,” she adds with a smile. Brenda turns off the lights and closes the door. See you tomorrow for another workshop.
RestoJet is a day centre for homeless people and/or people in need of guidance, which is part of the non-profit organisation Montfort Center. Their main action consists of welcoming to guide, welcoming to accompany. Daily life is punctuated by the services they offer via food aid, hygiene aid, socio-cultural activities and basic psycho-social support with the possibility of administrative support and/or guidance for beneficiaries who so wish.