This is a documentation of what I see when I really look. Taking notice of the anonymous sleeper on the street brings forth an obvious disparity. I am trying to make sense of what I see, trying to understand how I am a part of this outcome.
I see these anonymous bodies sleeping and I wonder what it is that I need to do to help.
We share these streets in this town and live in very different ways. I have better understanding these days than to cast an immediate verdict on sleeping rough or seeing it as a moral or health issue. Its neglect from a society that neglects itself. A lack of connection and community, the vital life force that can create real support systems.
Streets of this town was born from an overwhelming need to bring attention to the overlooked and disregarded side of life here on the streets of Byron.
I want to gain an understanding as to how this happens and how this disparity between those that have and those that do not exists in an obvious yet silent and almost deniable way.
In painting these works I connect to my own sense of humanity. As I paint these folds that shape the imagined body underneath, turning up the volume ever so slightly in places to bring forth the feelings of despair, sadness and beauty. I drop into the questioning of how someone gets to journey a life that leads to home on the streets. In painting these pictures this process only amplifies my own fears of security and the economic hardships leading to homelessness.
My intention is to capture the visceral sense of homelessness and at the same time offer a perspective rendered with care and in doing so capture and focus your gaze as the viewer to look closer at another side of this town.
Caitlin Reilly, 2021