The Ghoul Exhibition was an artistic response to the unfolding tragedy of gun violence in the United States. Created by Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Héctor Álvarez, this project merges performance and social engagement surrounding this pressing issue.
As a solo theater performance piece, it charted the link between gun deaths, race, geography, economics, mental illness and discrimination, questioning how the “representation” of violence in the media and the arts actually contributes to the problems behind gun violence.
The Ghoul Exhibition carved a symbolic space that honors victims, tackles trauma, records marginalized stories and reaffirms humanity.
As a social justice project, it provokes difficult but necessary conversations about solutions to problems connected to gun violence, while bringing visibility to organizations that fight for “common-sense” legislation regarding gun control.
This project questions how the “representation” of violence in the media and the arts actually contributes to the problems behind gun violence.
The show premiered in Chicago and toured New York, Los Angeles, and Austin, performing in non-traditional venues such as places of worship, housing co-ops, public libraries, college classrooms, homeless shelters and people’s living rooms. These visits also provided an opportunity to research and record local stories of gun violence from victims and affected communities that, over time, became part of the show.
The Ghoul Exhibition seeked to create a community with its audience, heal their hurts, foster forgiveness and celebrate the resilience of humanity.