As everyone may have noticed, and especially those who live with tenacious flatmates who are yet to turn on the heating: it’s getting cold! Freezing weather is a bigger threat for some, especially the homeless. At 23 Union Street, artistic minds have been racing at full speed to bring us a collaboration between Edinburgh Printmakers and 6 Big Issue vendors. The project seeks to explore the concept of home, or a lack of one, which is broken down to denote not just a construction with walls, a roof and a door, but something that constitutes an important part of our identity as human beings. A home often symbolizes security and a sanctuary that homeless people sorely need.
This is a highly political topic, and through the prints, many of which have text and intimate personal stories from homeless people living in Edinburgh, myths about the homeless are quickly dispelled. Not all those who are homeless live on the street, nor are they all beggars. It is important to recognize that many people in this city are vulnerably housed. The exhibition succeeds in putting a face on these people, who are frequently viewed as “one more statistic” or a “social problem”, and what they all have in common is that they have a story to tell. Many of them had been marginalized and lived on the fringes of society well before they became homeless.
Although it is quite small, the exhibition showcases work in a variety of mediums: screentprint, digital print and etching & watercolor, as well as a video documenting the progression of the project until completion. A personal favorite was the plate lithographies “Pine Homes” by Anna Guy, which feature charming pinecones with doors representing homes. “Panorama” by Robert Powell is a quirky and fun watercolor depiction of Edinburgh with its landmarks included.
However, this was a fantastic exhibition that comes highly recommended. You will probably not walk mindlessly past a Big Issue vendor for a couple of days after viewing it.