Washington, DC, November 19, 2012 -- After volunteering with different groups providing services for the homeless, Cory Clark and Dani Finger decided to investigate first hand poverty and homelessness in America and what those struggling for their survival endure and why no one seems to have the answers to the poverty problem.
They left their home in the Fairmount district of Philadelphia a little more than two years ago, with little more than a desire to change the world, guts, more talent between them then a hundred of the finest in their fields, and a whole lot of compassion for the people who are suffering.
"We wanted to see for ourselves and understand what the most vulnerable are going through, we know there are solutions, we even know what they are, but we just couldn't understand why others weren't arriving at the same places we were, so we had to see the bureaucracy, greed, and apathy in action from the ground perspective," said Clark.
"I see poverty as violence," Clark says, clarifying the statement, "the denial of human needs for the sake of profit, is tantamount to murder, yet this is what our society advocates, people are forced to buy everything that they need to live, I don't mean this figuratively but in a very real sense, we are forced to buy food, water, shelter, our warmth, and if you can't afford these things you risk death, that's violence."
Each day since arriving in Washington, DC, they have panhandled to acquire the things they've needed, from food, clothes, and supplies so they could do their work and, yes, even cigarettes and coffee.
"People on the street are constantly fighting for survival often against the horror of invisibility, people will go out of their way to pretend not to see you just so they don't have to recognize that they have a social responsibility to the poor who are often mentally ill, and many of which are military veterans, and when you're faced with so much insecurity and callousness people turn to vices in order to survive mentally, for us that's cigarettes and coffee, for others it's K-2 or alcohol, who are we to judge them while they suffer through so much," said Finger.
Clark is an internationally published journalist who has made a career around covering social issues, politics, and corruption; he is also the author of 'Reflections of a Dark Soul.'
Clark was a featured artist at both The Henry George Institute and MugShots in the month just before the duo left Philadelphia to begin their work on The People Power Project. He is currently the Featured artist at The District Gallery in the Northeast quadrant of Washington, DC. Dani Finger will be the featured artist in December, the opening for her exhibition titled 'What I Learned at Camp FEMA,' will be December 7th, 2013.
Finger was a recent Art School Graduate from Moore College of Art and Design, who has shown with the likes of Isaiah Zagar, Zoe Strauss, PepÃ³n Osorio, and Candy Depew at the time of their departure into the shadow world of homelessness. Her work is self described as kitsch in nature, bordering on the absurd.
"I want my work to be fun and catchy while hitting people hard with the realities they refuse to look at, I want to draw people in until its too late and there is no choice but to see and accept the world they have been trying so hard to pretend doesn't exist all their lives," said Finger. "It's absurd or at least close to it in order that people will see the absurdity of the way things are and know that it doesn't have to be the way it is, it just takes people doing something and thinking critically."