Inspirational People-a photographic and art exhibition featuring photo’s by Matt Priestley and artworks by The Booth Centre
One of the most exciting projects of my 20 year career as a professional photographer launches in Manchester on 12th November.
Inspirational People is a collaboration between The Booth Centre, Manchester, and myself to create an exhibition and book which celebrates the strengths of people who have experienced homelessness.
Our exhibition launches on Monday 12th November at Manchester’s Piccadilly Train Station, and runs there until Sunday 18th November. It will then move to other locations around the city. It also marks the beginning of the International Arts and Homelessness Summit– Manchester 15-18 November 2018.
Portraits. At its core the project features individuals who visit The Booth Centre. Each participant has posed for a portrait that captures his or her individuality. They show a proper sense of pride in who they are and what they have achieved.
Artwork. Alongside each picture is a piece of artwork, poetry, or prose, which showcases their artistic abilities. Many of them contain messages of hope that they would like to share with the public.
Changing Labels. People who are homeless are often labelled by the media and by society using derogatory language which defines them as problems; “beggars”, “rough sleepers”, “drug users” or “alcoholics”. In this exhibition, the people in the portraits have chosen titles for themselves which describe their unique personalities. They tell the world how they would like to be seen.
The portraits and the artworks are in stark contrast to the usual media depictions of homelessness. All too often they feature black-and-white images of people begging or sleeping in doorways. They portray people as faceless victims with no individuality. They tend to focus on rough sleeping and don’t show the bigger picture. Which is that people from all walks of life can find themselves homeless. Although some may end up on the streets, very few of them will ever resort to begging. Many more live in hostels or sofa-surf with friends. And most importantly, people are climbing out of homelessness every day. Rebuilding their lives. Making positive contributions to their communities.
Better futures. This exhibition provides a refreshing antidote to these clichéd portrayals. People who are homeless need more than a bed and a roof; they need real homes. They also need to be valued as individuals, to have a voice, and to find ways of using their strengths to help build a more understanding society for us all. These portraits and artworks show the diversity, the strength, and the talents of people who have been affected by homelessness in Manchester and Salford. They express an optimism that lives can change. That people can move forward to build better futures. That homelessness is a transitory episode in someone’s life. It isn’t what defines them.
The Booth Centre has been assisting those affected by homelessness in Manchester for over twenty years. It’s mission – to bring about positive change in the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, helping them plan for, and, realise a better future. As part of this mission the Centre runs an innovative Arts Programme which enables the artists to express their talents and develop artistically. www.boothcentre.org.uk
A book to accompany the exhibition can now be purchased from our website, inspirational people.co.uk, just follow the link to “Book” and you’ll find details of how to buy.
The project would not have been possible without receiving both financial help and support in kind from a number of generous individuals, organisations and companies. Please see below
Support in Kind