, 47 Lark Lane, Liverpool
Till 28th August 2013
Ideally art and creativity should first and foremost speak for itself.
However as we all know particularly here in Liverpool it’s never
as simple or as ideal as that. Thus a “homeless arts project”
can not otherwise but frame the artist and their work before it’s
even viewed, but such are the socio-economic constraints of current public
funding with its accompanying tick-box criteria which determines what
is and isn’t worthy to be funded, promoted or allowed to happen.
So my first task in writing this review is to adhere to my first statement
and uphold that principle.
I had originally tried to view the artwork and speak to artists on the
opening day, however when I arrived at Arts Hub 47 on Lark Lane, a very
small shop with an arts space upstairs, there was a queue to go upstairs.
I did attempt to squeeze myself upstairs, but it was too claustrophobic
for me on one of the hottest days in July, so with a huff and puff I chose
Next day I was able to view the artwork in quiet contemplation in the
two upstairs rooms set aside for the exhibition. The exhibition entitled
HOPE is a collaboration between Arts Hub 47 and the Shaw Street training
and support project for homeless people. Becka Griffin, of Arts Hub 47,
said “Due to my involvement with residents on a voluntary basis
I decided to suggest an exhibition at the Arts Hub and the residents jumped
at the opportunity. They have worked really hard to create a diverse collection
of work for this exhibition.”
The idea of the project was to bring to the attention the hopes and aspirations
of homeless people through their artwork and the comments they’ve
made alongside their work represent a view of their artistic backgrounds
along their ‘tick-box’ employment or education hopes for the
“The Socialist Philanthropist” Murphy has a substantial amount
of artwork on display all acrylic on canvas. The first one that catches
my eye is entitled “Manic” and has an appropriate quote above
it “I painted how I was feeling.” Another piece entitled “Breakup”
is a ship wreck on a rocky shore. Much of Tommy’s artwork makes
use of big strokes of contrasting colour such as in “DNA”
and “Colours”. Three other acrylics are more doom laden, including
“Blinded by the light”, “Nuclear fallout” and
“Doomsday”, underneath these three pieces is his statement
of future intention “I hope to study music at University”.
A further four pieces includes “Lily of the ponds” which is
of an abstract nature and has been sold, alongside are three vertically
displayed pieces entitled “The Blues”. A group of five cover
another wall with the titles “stressed1” through to “stressed
5”. Tommy uses colour and his canvas to express his emotional state
at the time of painting them and has said: “I’ve come such
a long way since I’ve been at Shaw Street. I’d never even
picked up a paintbrush until I started coming to the art sessions. I have
found a new way to express myself.” Tommy is hoping to move into
his own flat in the near future.
Next for my attention is Garry “The Daydreamer” Williams,
another acrylic on canvas artist, first I view is “Crimson Sunset”
which makes substantial use of reds and browns in an abstract style. Above
this piece are two statements “I didn’t think I could draw”
and “I hope to study to become a mental health nurse”, filling
a tick-box undoubtedly. Garry is another abstract artist and two of his
pieces are entitled “Haze” and “The China Syndrome”
both us bold strokes of colour on canvas accompanied by the quote “I
couldn’t even draw a stick man before I came to art” underneath
these two pieces is a book full of Garry’s poems and writing. On
another wall there are three pieces entitled “Love, Hope and Peace”
which use a more softer range of colours showing three simplified countryside
views - this ‘tryptich’ has been sold. Another of his pieces
is footprints, which is animal footprints on what must be a beach or desert
from the use of colour and is accompanied on the right by the poem “footsteps
in the sand” by Mary Stephenson. Much of Garry’s work is abstract
in nature and this is clear in three other pieces entitled “The
Scripture From Within”, “Fallout” and “Morning
Grocott also favours acrylic on canvas, firstly there’s a crowded
vista of Liverpool’s waterfront as viewed from across the river
entitled “Nightfall”, above it is the accompanying quote “I
slept here when I was street homeless.”beneath is “The Hub”
a flat and simplified impression of the ARTS hub 47 shop front, beneath
this is “Celebration” which I can only describe as the essence
of Christmas in colour and paint style. Another piece is entitled “Torn”
which is a bright use of colour and broad strokes of the paint brush,
but what it’s saying is beyond me, though it’s visually attractive.
“Greece” is bright and makes over use of white to make its
point but that might because it’s unfinished. Gary says: “I
had never thought about art before, I didn’t think I could draw”.
He is now a prolific artist and spends a great deal of time drawing and
painting. He hopes to go on to study art in a formal setting.
Ceila McGowan’s has some pleasant photographs of flowers in a meadow
The Riverside Housing Association’s manager at Shaw Street, Julie
McInnes, said: “The residents’ artwork is for sale to raise
funds for the Shaw Street Project’s Living Skills Fund, enabling
ongoing activities for all residents.”
The new ‘Hope’ exhibition runs until 28th August 2013 at the
Arts Hub 47, 47 Lark Lane, Liverpool.
For more information on the Arts Hub 47, and to find out more about regular
exhibitions, please visit
or call 0151 727 0323.