NYC’s Homeless Youth Depicted in Thoughtful Art Series
“Art – The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”
Art is a universal form of expression, in spite of the controversy it can cause and is another format of inspiration. Ranging from music (some, arguably not all), sculptures, painting and photograph. Although photography and homelessness has interlinked many times before, this time it is different.
As a student, my worst worries consist of handing in an essay on time, and not getting enough sleep. However, never has homelessness been an issue I’ve had to worry about, knowing there are people my age that are homeless is something that makes me question why and how they ended up there, but never did I think what their aspirations and dreams were. Homelessness was made out to be a permanent rut you could never get out of due to the negative light shed upon homelessness, where feeding the homeless made you a hero rather than just a good person. It was glorified with a false positive light put in place, turning the people that were seeking help due to their lack of a living space into just a mere shadow faded into the back.
Now, a genuinely positive light has been penetrated through the media cloud that is negativity by The Portrait Project. The Portrait Project is a selection of photographs to help visualise the dreams of homeless teens through the art of photography, imagination and make-up. The concept was created by Art State, an organisation to voice and encourage the “at risked youths” of todays society rather than be focussed on their past resulting in blaming them, their lives defining their past.
Rather than questioning the homeless youth on how they become homeless, they were questioned about something we “normal kids” get asked on a daily basis: “what do you want to be when you’re older?”. The homeless teens replied that “no-one ever asked”. At 16 I’d be a famous musician, later replaced with reality, and these adolescents were asked the same, and then their dreams were later presented through the eye capturing photography, creating evidence that the “show, not tell” phrase really does hold a lot of truth.
“This Portrait Project, along with our other portrait projects that focus on homeless families, are all empowerment and platform focused so that the Art Start youth and families can share with the world how they want to be seen and not just be stigmatized, the effects are powerful, from the inside out,” Johanna De Los Santos, co-executive director of Art Star, the creator and dream-maker said.
Regardless of the situation, we should be encouraged to achieve our goals, and let people know rather than them joining in on society’s stereotyping ways with no room to breath as expressiveness is blurred with ignorance. Just like The Portrait Project did.