New exhibition uses photography to shed light on the experience of homelessness 

Artists setting up the MyMumbai + MyLondon exhibition. Pic: Isabel Gonzalez Belobradic 

In the heart of the East End’s vibrant Brick Lane, a unique exhibition is taking place to showcase the photographic works of artists with experience of homelessness. 

The MyLondon + MyMumbai exhibition, taking place at the Kahaila Cafe spearheaded by the MyWorld and Cafe Art organisations, aims to help those experiencing homelessness through artistic expression.  

The photographs, taken by Fujifilm Quicksnap cameras, offered a glimpse into the lives of people with personal experience of homelessness in Mumbai and London. 

Kahaila Cafe MyMumbai + MyLondon exhibition. Pic: Isabel Gonzalez Belobradic 

One of the London-based artists, who goes by the name Chin, told Eastlondonlines: “I’m struggling with drug addiction and suicidal ideation, so being part of this photography group and being mentored by them helps me to resolve certain issues within myself, meaning that sometimes when you feel, or myself when I feel like I want to have a fix or want to use drugs, I would turn to do photography and express thought and passion through the visual art.”  

Chin and his photograph of the rainbow mural. Pic: Isabel Gonzalez Belobradic 

The exhibition is set to last until March 31. Calendars and photographs of the works are being sold at the exhibition, the proceeds raising money for the artists as well as the charities. 

Chin, who was homeless for seven years, said: “The proceeds go back to the photographers, and all of us in some way still are or currently are dealing with homelessness and the trauma and the mental unease that comes with being homeless, regardless of what country you’re in.” 

MyMumbai and MyLondon Calendars. Pic: Isabel Gonzalez Belobradic 

MyWorld partnered with the founder of the Pehchan charity organisation in Mumbai, Brijesh Arya, to be able to showcase the works of homeless people in that city as well.  

Paul Ryan, the CEO of MyWorld, said in a speech at the opening of the exhibition: “Brijesh has been asking me for years to do My Mumbai, and so last year I thought I would just go and do it off my own back, so I went there on holiday and took 50 cameras, and we did the project in September with five groups, different sets of families.  

“So, the photos you see here, the families I met them, they generally live in family groups, from grandparents to children, and most of the adults are working full-time, working in markets, driving taxis, and doing jobs like that. So, we handed out the cameras, developed the film there.” 

“Dardar West” by Arati Kharwa. Pic: Isabel Gonzalez Belobradic 

“Flower Market, Grant Road” By Suresh Pawar. Pic: Isabel Gonzalez Belobradic 

The exhibition also included photos from the Cafe Art RPS Photography Mentoring Group, a testament to the power of mentorship and community support.  

Run by dedicated volunteers from RPS London, this mentoring program has been instrumental in empowering individuals to harness their creative potential. 

David Hicks, an RPS mentor, says: “Some organisations ask homeless people to photograph their life which is not outward looking but inward looking.  

“For both the calendars we asked them to photograph what they love about their city. What they love about living there. It really tells the world that even if you’re homeless you can have a happy, beautiful city.” 

Photographs taken by members of the Cafe Art RPS photography mentoring group. Pic: Isabel Gonzalez Belobradic 

Chin said: “I think that using photography and art to advocate for homelessness makes it more dramatic, makes it more powerful. I think when people see a silent photo of someone in a place where it’s cold and they’re begging for money, it resonates with the human inside you, those of us who are human. 

“I just think that using photography, it’s like vinyl, it has a certain sound to it. Some of us are receptive to colour and light, some of us are not. I think that’s what it is for me.” 

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