Tom Keighley

Member Article

Newcastle activist launches homeless art campaign

A new national art exhibition from a young Newcastle activist is set to challenge the public’s perceptions of youth homelessness.

20-year-old James McNaughton has partnered with British fashion photographer Perou to launch an online photography exhibition which showcases a series of powerful images portraying the realities of youth homelessness in the UK.

James has already showcased artwork created by homeless youngsters in his hometown of Newcastle, and now he will take this latest exhibition online, with the backing of O2.

A range of photographs, shot by Perou will raise awareness of the issue of homelessness, particularly around the issue of the 80,000 young people who experience homelessness in the UK every year.

The project is part of Homeless & The Arts, a campaign backed and funded by O2’s Think Big youth programme.

Perou said: “The vast majority of people are fortunate enough never to have experienced homelessness, but ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse.

“Every day, homeless young people are forced to confront society’s prejudice and what people fail to realise is the huge impact this has on vulnerable young people as they try rebuild their lives.”

He went to say that the project might encourage more people to volunteer to support homeless charities, or even spur people to take time to talk to homeless young people on the street.

James McNaughton, said: “Having been homeless I know from personal experience just how difficult it is to turn your life around.

“One of the biggest barriers preventing young people making that transition is a lack of confidence and sense of self worth.

“That’s why it’s so important that, as a society, we don’t succumb to convenient stereotypes, but instead treat young homeless people with respect and dignity.

“Working with Perou I wanted to use the power of art to dispel some of the negative perceptions of youth homelessness. The exhibition, hopefully, does just that, it gives a voice to the homeless young people behind the images and hopefully it will make people stop and think.”

The pair have spent several days working with homeless organisations in Liverpool, Manchester to gain shots, and contributions have also been made from young photographers in London, Newcastle and the East Midlands, who have experienced homelessness.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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