curated by Fabian Debora, Art Director, Homeboy Industries
Rakeem Cunningham, Art Director, TAG Gallery
Alison Lowe Platt, Artist/Member, TAG Gallery
Saturday, January 9, 5 – 8pm
Special Guest Lecture:
Art & Healing with Father Greg Boyle
Tuesday, January 12, 5 – 8pm
Artist Panel Discussion:
Spiritual Language: From the Artists’ Perspective
Saturday, January 16, 2 – 4pm
Working in a variety of media, with a goal to speak to viewers from all walks of life, Spiritual Language is the physical translation of struggle, growth, hope, and healing, through artistic expression. Speaking directly to the core of what makes us human, this “language” is an intangible force that pushes past the boundaries of race, social class, cultural barriers, religion, and age. Unifying us through artistic communication, this exhibition provokes honest conversation evoking empathy, understanding, and emotional connectivity.
Presented along with several community art events, this exhibition seeks to unite and engage visitors by showcasing the healing power of art, giving recognition to the mission of Homeboy Industries. As the largest gang intervention program in the nation, Homeboy’s art initiative fosters a sense of hope and possibility for those impacted by a life of poverty and violence. This encouragement of creativity feeds not only the growth of artists, but also the development and cultivation of the spiritual language.
Proceeds from this partnership will directly benefit Homeboy Industries, helping contribute to their creative cause. Visitors to the exhibition can show support of Homeboy Industries through donation of art supplies and materials such as paint, canvas, brushes, etc. made directly at TAG Gallery.
Homeboy Industries provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community. Each year over 10,000 former gang members from across Los Angeles come through Homeboy Industries’ doors in an effort to make a positive change. They are welcomed into a community of mutual kinship, love, and a wide variety of services ranging from tattoo removal to anger management and parenting classes. Full-time employment is offered for more than 200 men and women at a time through an 18-month program that helps them re identify who they are in the world, offers job training so they can move on from Homeboy Industries and become contributing members of the community.
Born in El Paso, Texas and raised in Boyle Heights, California, Fabian Debora has been creating art since childhood. Beginning his art career in 1995 as a member of the East Los Angeles Streetscapers, Fabian was mentored by many Chicano graffiti artists and muralists, introducing him to creative expression in all forms. Over the years Fabian has created murals throughout East Los Angeles and continued to develop his style through work on canvas. He has been showcased in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, including Santa Barbara, CA, Los Angeles, CA, and Kansas City, MO. Fabian is currently a substance abuse counselor and art mentor at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. Working in collaboration with OTIS College of Design as a liaison between community artists in Boyle Heights and students in the classroom, Fabian continues to use art as a vehicle to communicate, educate, and touch people throughout his journey. By conceptualizing and interpreting his personal experiences as well as the experiences of his community, Fabian believes that he too can effect change.
Father Greg Boyle
Homeboy Industries traces its roots back to 1988 when in an effort to address the escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth, Fr. Greg and many community members developed positive alternatives, including establishing an elementary school, a day care program and finding legitimate employment for young people. In 1992, as a response to the civil unrest in Los Angeles, Fr. Greg launched the first social enterprise business, Homeboy Bakery. The mission of Homeboy's model of social enterprises, to create an environment that provides training, work experience, and above all, the opportunity for rival gang members to work side by side. The success of the Bakery created the groundwork for additional social enterprise businesses. Today Homeboy Industries’ nonprofit economic development enterprises include Homeboy Bakery, Homeboy Silkscreen & Embroidery, Homeboy/Homegirl Merchandise, Homegirl Café & Catering, Homeboy Farmers Market, and Homeboy Diner at Los Angeles City Hall.
As Executive Director of Homeboy Industries and an acknowledged expert on gangs and intervention approaches, Fr. Boyle is an internationally renowned speaker. He has given commencement addresses at numerous universities, as well as spoken at conferences for teachers, social workers, criminal justice workers and others about the importance of adult attention, guidance and unconditional love in preventing youth from joining gangs. Fr. Greg and several “homies” were featured speakers at the White House Conference on Youth in 2005 at the personal invitation of Mrs. George Bush. In 1998 he was a member of the 10-person California delegation to President Clinton’s Summit on Children in Philadelphia. Fr. Greg is also a consultant to youth service and governmental agencies, policy-makers and employers. Fr. Boyle serves as a member of the National Gang Center Advisory Board (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention). He is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy in Los Angeles. Previously, he held an appointment to the California Commission on Juvenile Justice, Crime and Delinquency Prevention.