RMIT advertising students interview people experiencing homelessness for unique exhibition

Students-Caitlin-Shannon-left-and-Beth-Gibson-1260x840.jpgFour advertising students from RMIT have interviewed people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne for a unique exhibition combining text, sound and art on October 3 at Nicholas Building, 31-41 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000.

What struck four RMIT advertising students when they began interviewing people experiencing homelessness was that the stereotypes didn't fit. They weren't defined by their homelessness - although it was a challenge for all of them. They were people first, homeless second.

Fifteen people who are, or have been homeless, have been interviewed and photographed by students, Tess Dawson, Beth Gibson (above, right), Caitlin Shannon (above, left) and Emma Hardy. They sent the interviews and photographs to Australian artists, asking them to create a work of art in response. Over 15 artists have already signed up, including Archibald finalists Zoe Young and Abdul Abdullah.

10688243_10203711195074279_6578244689855447511_o-2.jpgThese portraits will be exhibited on the night, accompanied by an audio piece in the person's own voice so that people can fully immerse themselves - through art and conversation - in the lives of these individuals.

The students came up with the project idea - 10575195_10152792841139739_6039506035381951341_o.jpgwhich they are completing for a university subject called 'Advertising Projects' - and hope the exhibition challenges stereotypes by showcasing the diverse passions, beliefs and idiosyncrasies of people who have or are currently experiencing homelessness.

Dawson, who is both organizing and submitting a piece for the exhibition, says the project is about breaking down the 10708736_10152818334124739_4805902538273901475_o.jpgone-dimensional way homeless people are often portrayed in the media.

Says Dawson: "I feel they get put into this category of homelessness that doesn't acknowledge the fact that they are also human beings or that homelessness is an experience that doesn't fully define a person."

Gibson agrees, and found that it was a sentiment many of the people they interviewed shared.

Says Gibson: "There was a lot of talk about the need for empathy."

Ben, one of the people interviewed who had previously experienced homelessness, spoke candidly: "To have empathy for others is a huge thing. You really have to internally respect yourself and love yourself as a temple to be able to have that content for 10490133_10152346997541319_1663594126_n.jpgothers and be non-judgmental."

All portraits will be sold, with the majority of proceeds going to the Council to Homeless Persons as well as smaller initiatives like The Beginning of a New Journey, a Melbourne-based project for women who have experienced domestic violence.

Click here for event details.


Delta said:

I love it! Great story.

Jack Elliot said:

Truly incredible

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