Over 20 homeless people are exhibiting their Manchester-inspired art through photography, sculpture and poetry from March 2nd till April 1st.
Annual figures show that homelessness is an increasing problem for Manchester, with the number of people sleeping rough in Greater Manchester rising by nearly 50 per cent in a year.
Manchester Booth Centre – a charity dedicated to helping homeless people rebuild their lives, decided to approach homelessness in a different way; through creativity. The homeless people that attended their art workshop were given a disposable camera and were asked to go out to capture art.
The ‘My Manchester’ photography exhibition is located in the independent bookshop Chapter One Books in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The touring exhibition is showcasing work of photographers that have experienced homelessness in Manchester and captures different perspectives of the city.
‘My Manchester’ Photography Exhibition
The photographs featured in the exhibition were taken by both the homeless community of Manchester and by more experienced photographers.
The smaller printed photographs were disposables taken by the homeless and ex-homeless community and shows their different views of the city.
The larger printed photographs were taken by those with more photography experience. The photographs in this part of the exhibition were chosen by different members of the homeless community for their own particular reasons. Their reasons for choosing the exhibited photographs can be found underneath them.
‘Mr Streetwise’ is a sculpture created by ex-homeless and Booth Centre volunteer Danny Collins, who played a huge role in the exhibition.
Danny, 60, originally from Liverpool, was on the streets for four and a half years but was housed a couple of months ago. He believes that the sculpture is a ‘representation of his former self’ and has said that he aims to ‘get people thinking about homelessness’.
All of the artwork was made out of scrap material found in skips and the sculpture wears Danny’s own clothes from when he was sleeping on the streets.
Small poems written by some of the homeless people of Manchester have been stuck onto Mr Streetwise and Danny has said that “Mr Streetwise has become a part of me. I don’t want him stuck in the corner somewhere, this is what I wanted. I wanted people to read the poems and see their reactions”
The Booth Centre hope that the project will get rid of the stigma associated with homeless people and that awareness through art will push people to donate.
“I don’t want to make this a political matter. With this project we want to change current opinions about homeless people through art awareness. Comments and feedback mean more than anything and we hope that this will make the public come back to fight for us”
The public were invited to write comments and stick them on the wall to offer moral support for those who were involved in the project.
Lauren Ward, 22, a University of Manchester student that attended the exhibition said “this exhibition really opens your eyes to life on the streets. The different photos tell a story of hardship but also hope”.
The Booth Centre continues to work with homelessness in Manchester and needs donations to fund similar projects.
“Projects like this wouldn’t be possible without public donations. We are a non-funded charity so we need money for art materials. Buying equipment in bulk really eats away the budget, but we think that engaging in the homeless community in this way is really helpful”
The Booth Centre are currently working on a new fully-staged opera that will take place on the 25th March – 26th March.
The production stars performers who have experienced homelessness from Streetwise Opera Manchester, groups from the Booth Centre and professional singers and instrumentalists from The Sixteen.
The Passion trailer: