Street Art about Homelessness
How sad is it that street art is used to draw attention to homelessness? Think about it: people are more likely to notice a drawing of a homeless person, than a real homeless person. We choose to walk by, pretending not to see them. Just another day in paradise for us, while we walk along, telling ourselves “she’s probably a junkie“ to rationalize our apathy. Hidden below piles of excuses, we know the person could be someone who just lost their job, couldn’t pay big medical bills or was struck by some other misfortune and lost their home. But thinking about that is uncomfortable.
Well, here’s something to make us uncomfortable:
Street artist Michael Aaron Williams makes homeless people out of cardboard and puts them up on walls. Anyone who passes by could stop and take them home. If nobody does, Williams says “they will be destroyed and blown away in the wind or other forces that will rip them down and throw them away.”
We can decide to help out a bit or ignore them. Just like real homeless people.
UK-based homelessness charity Depaul worked with several street artists to create street art about homeless youth. The campaign’s name was “Don’t let their stories end here” – the goal was to raise both awareness and money. The photo above is one of the results, the others are here.
Toronto street artist Fauxreel highlighted homelessness in his “The Unaddressed” project. Of all the projects he’s done, Fauxreel said this was the least satisfying: “The pieces got torn down, scribbled on with nasty comments and generally disrespected. Although this really got me down at first, I later realized that the work provoked a reaction and really showed what a lot of Torontonians think about those who are homeless.”