THE impacts of homelessness viewed through the eyes of Murraylands youths will be explored in an art exhibition launching next week.
Our Time Is Now is a collection of art from youths aged 14 to 17, sharing their personal reflections on homelessness and hardship as part of the ac.care project.
Coinciding with National Homelessness Week, held from August 7-13, the exhibition will be officially launched on Wednesday, August 9, at 10.30am at The Square in Murray Bridge.
The youth-focused exhibition builds on the success of last year’s inaugural ac.care National Homelessness Week exhibition, which was an initiative of ac.care’s Murraylands homelessness service and has been expanded into the Riverland and Limestone Coast.
ac.care Murraylands Homelessness Service manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage encouraged the community to view the exhibition over Wednesday and Thursday to gain some perspective on how homelessness impacts the lives of young people.
“This exhibition shows just how aware young people are about the impacts of homelessness and hardship and how it impacts the quality of life of those affected,” Ms Hiripitiyage said.
“Each piece has been individualised and many aspects of homelessness are covered, from everyday life through to the longer-term impacts.”
The series of unique and thought-provoking artworks are accompanied by a written submission from each young person, ranging from a short sentence through to a detailed statement.
“The artworks certainly tell their own story in creative ways, but the words add another layer and show the maturity and understanding these young people have when it comes to living in poverty,” Ms Hiripitiyage said.
The 2023 National Homelessness Week theme is “It’s time to end homelessness”, which aligns strongly with ac.care’s mission of ensuring all country people have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.
ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said the exhibition was a valuable opportunity to raise awareness during National Homelessness Week and gain insight into personal experiences.
“There is no ‘one face’ of homelessness and this exhibition is a testament to that – these young people all view that experience differently,” Mr Maddocks said.
“One point that is apparent from this exhibition is just how deeply poverty affects and is understood by young people in our communities - many of the words reflect on the instability of homelessness and how it unsettles individuals and families alike.
“That is why it is important we continue to take a unified approach with all levels of government, as well as local businesses and other organisations and stakeholders because breaking cycles of disadvantage and providing people with the resources and support they need to live comfortably requires a whole-of-community approach.”
Our Time Is Now will be displayed at The Square, 2 South Terrace, on August 9 and 10 from 10am to 4pm.
The official opening will be held at 10.30am on August 9.
The exhibition is generously supported by the Rural City of Murray Bridge and the Murray Bridge Community Centre.