Home is where the art is
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post – bad, I know! I have been working on a couple of stories for you, as well as updating a few things on my blog, but in the meantime I was a bit stuck on what to write here.
That was until yesterday when I was wandering around the fine city of Perth on my lunch break with nowhere in particular to go, and a photography exhibition caught my eye.
You may not know this about me, but I am a photography lover. I don’t have any technical knowledge, or even the ability to do much more than point and shoot (from an artistic perspective, that is), but the photos that go beyond the subject, right through to the soul? I have no idea how people achieve that, but it amazes me.
This particular photography exhibition, called Home is where my heart is, has a whole extra layer of depth given that it is an exhibition dedicated to capturing the reality of youth homelessness.
Held as part of National Homeless Persons Week, Home is where my heart is is a collaboration between the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA) and Propel Youth Arts WA.
Under the program, young homeless people are partnered with young emerging photographers to create a series of photographs depicting what home is to a homeless person. The photographers are on hand to help the young homeless people to understand the technical aspects of photography and enable them to create the images that will best represent their home.
To quote from the program available at the exhibition, “it is the simple act of sharing knowledge and skills that makes this exhibition so powerful”.
Powerful is the word for it. While the photographs themselves are striking, it is the spiels that accompany them that really make the exhibition work. Each young artist has provided a written explanation as to how they define “home” and why the places in their images mean so much to them.
For the technically minded, some displays even feature a wall-mounted iPad with video of the young artists discussing their works.
But, why am I writing about a photography exhibition on a children’s story blog?
Well, for one thing, I feel like these are children’s stories – the real stories of young people who, for whatever reason, haven’t had an easy life. According to YACWA, there are more than 6000 homeless young people on any given night in Western Australia.
That’s a big number, and when I look at the children and teenagers I know, I would say that one is too many.
But secondly, I think that this exhibition presents a great opportunity to open a conversation with your own children about the different ways people live their lives. I’ve had a pretty blessed life; while my parents definitely went through times of hardship we always had a roof over our heads, food to eat and clothes to wear.
Now, as an adult with my own house, I try to always be grateful for those things – even when my clothes have holes or my shoes are falling apart, I still have all I need to live on, and that is more than so many people can say. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that, because it is so easy to take the things we do have for granted.
This exhibition is a beautiful reminder that there is beauty in everything. That everyone can find a place to call home, even when there is no roof and no food there. And that we could all afford to take a little more time to be grateful for what we do have and worry a little less about what we don’t.
For more information on Home is where my heart is, visit the website: http://www.propel.org.au/projects/HIWMHI
Home is where my heart is will be open until August 13 at 834 Hay Street, Perth, opposite His Majesty’s Theatre.
All profits from sales of the prints go to services that support young homeless people.