MARIA THOMASSEN | AGE 36
Maria Thomassen grew up on Vesterbro in Copenhagen. She lived alone with her mother, who was an alcoholic, and Maria started smoking marihuanna as a 13-year-old. She was sent to boarding school in West Jutland, got a degree in office administration and after that, she got a flat. But she got bored, returned to Copenhagen and became a drug addict at the age of 21. She met Lee, with whom she found peace and a kind of safety.
In 1998, she was diagnosed HIV-positive, and lived on the streets of Copenhagen with her belongings in two baby carriages until 2009, when she got her own flat.
‘The Rootless’ is a project about homeless people in Denmark, which is intended to further understanding of the situation of the homeless by focusing on their lives and living conditions through a photo exhibition and the nationwide publishing of a book.
‘The Rootless’ are a group of 30 people who has somehow been pushed out of society either by or without conscious choice and who need more help than that which is provided by the efforts of our society. A large part of the problem is the fact that we do not look the people we are supposed to help in the eye.
Most of us would rather not face the reality we are confronted by through these people. Most of us fail to grasp the relations that take place in the streets and that makes it challenging for us to understand the homeless rather than turning our backs on them. This project tries to diminish the distance between us and homeless people by giving them facial features and telling their stories.
‘The Rootless’ was exhibited in 2010 as an outdoor exhibition in 6 larger cities in Denmark and had its Inaugural exhibition at the art festival Lys over Lolland (Light Over Lolland) same year.