f. 1971 i Toledo i Spania
Julio Jara is in charge of care-related and administration tasks, as well as cooking, at a hostel for homeless people run by the San Martín de Porres Foundation in the neighbourhood of Caño Roto, Madrid, which looks after people who find their way there with issues related to their transgender identity. As part of the type of care that is needed and provided in these kinds of charity institutions, Julio Jara started running arts workshops with a strong social impact. Participants started by writing down, in their own words, the difficult experience of the first night they spent out in the open, without a roof over their heads, homeless.
In the sharing that takes places through the care Julio Jara provides, culture is an element like food, hygiene and health. He reminds us that an exchange takes place between those who help and those who are helped: they mutually need each other, as Miguel de Mañara pointed out back in the 17th century.
‘Their lives when they arrive here are a failure, and we want to turn this failure into a party. That joy, giving that joy is a form of welfare like any other’, Julio Jara says. He also talks about miracles, about the fun and scandal that act within miracles. Jara, like film director Pier Paolo Pasolini – who said that poverty is the true enemy of capital – understands poverty in terms of scandal, fun and miracle. ‘Can we reclaim the right to have no right?’ he asks. ‘Can we celebrate Poor Pride Day, declare that FAILURE TRULY IS A PARTY?’
Julio Jara is an artist with a long and varied career spanning from his time as singer in the group Vamos a Morir in 1986 and 1987 to his work on the idea of the infrapayo in the late 1990s. At some point, he chose the path of the poor. In other words, poverty is not just a poetic vocation to him but a life discipline that includes being a member of a minor Catholic order. Ernesto Cardenal has tried to capture the subjection and liberation that this implies: ‘the poor smell, and it is not the smell of holiness’.
Los Mil y Un Cartones (A Thousand and One Cardboard Pieces), 2019
Interventions at The Church City Mission,
Introduction Days, 6.4.2019
Los mil y un cartón (One Thousand and One Cardboards, performance, 20’)
The regular work of Julio Jara, artist, poet and performer established in Madrid since the eighties, focuses on the homeless, on immigrants with drug abuse problems and on transgender refugees. He carries out this work for a religion based institution in Madrid called Martín de Porres. Los mil y un cartón is one of his works based on an open collection of narratives on how individuals spent their first night outdoors, in that fuzzy and hostile outside world that we find threatening. Making that first night on the streets public is an eminently political gesture. With these elements, Julio Jara creates songs, dances and gestures, endeavouring to project a specific form. Furthermore, the work moves between collaboration and anonymity, as the idea is naturally to try and leave a trace, any trace.