I strolled down to the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, my stomach gently rumbling from skipping breakfast but the two cups of tea and good nights sleep were doing me well. I had heard that there was a new exhibition, and I was excited to embark on what I had hoped would be an emotional journey. I walked up the steps, with my mother in tow, and together, we walked through to The Front Room.
In front of us, as we walked in was a room adorned with paintings, sculptures, and writings of the homeless. The room echoed with the voices of men and women who had stories to tell, those that felt displaced by the cities and landscapes they had lived in. On the left was a brief of what the project “Discarded Dreams” was about, and further on was poetry from a previous project “Voices of the Pavement”. There were poems detailing the feeling of vulnerability and suffering, poems depicting hope and courage, and poems that helped define the authors and their anger and struggles.
The artworks across all walls were by the people that had frequented catching lives. The paintings told the stories of the diasporic nature of humans, each stroke depicting an experience that had led them to where they were – they were beautiful.
A Romanian man who, back in Romania had been a sculptor, had created magnificent works of art, hands holding bowls that pointed towards the idea of God, patterned and painted in gold.
Homeless men and women are more than they look, each one rippled in stories, experiences falling out of them like smoke from the ends of cigarettes. All they want is time, a luxury few are willing to give but many are so ready to take.
In the middle of the room was a castle, covered in losing scratch cards, paying homage to Camelot, aptly named “Losealot”. Camelot being the court and castle where the legendary King Arthur lived, its walls were ripped and torn scratch cards, shelters littering the grounds and people clawing to get around. It was a stark comparison of the city of fable.
There were two things in particular that caught my eye, there were models made of scratch cards, speed boats and race cars, the dreams of what could have been with just one number different, just one extra symbol, just a little bit more luck.
Life could be different, you know, for all of us: losing a job, bereavement, a streak of bad luck – we are only ever nine meals from anarchy, and even less from having our worlds change.
The exhibition will be running until Sunday the 13 May. To find out more about the exhibition, click here.
Visit the Catching Lives to find out more about the work that they do and how you can donate or help to get involved.