Hidden Voices exhibition showcases creativity of Hull’s homeless

Saturday 18 March sees the opening of the first of four exhibitions of work created as part of Hidden Voices. It’s an initiative aimed at unlocking the voices and creative talents of the 60 homeless people living rough on the streets of Hull who are fed twice a week by St Mary’s Church in Lowgate.

Hidden Voices is one of 60 new projects to receive funding through the Hull 2017 Creative Communities Programme (CCP), which is being delivered in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund.

This first exhibition, Made in Hull: Made from Hull, documents and explores the terminology of ‘Rootlessness’ and ‘Homelessness’. It looks at the problems of engagement and interaction from both sides: how those who exist within the apparently ‘normal’ frameworks of society engage with those who are considered ‘outsiders’, and vice versa, as well as considering the fundamentals of these frameworks.

Two local artists, Louie Dorton, of Hull’s Ground gallery, and St Mary’s resident artist Marcel Craven, who has himself experienced homelessness, have been unlocking these hidden voices and creative talent through weekly artistic sessions open to the homeless people who receive food from St Mary’s. Using items discarded by others, they have been exploring life stories and creativity.

A spokesperson for St Mary’s Church said: “There is a gaping void for those who are rough sleepers, sofa hoppers, hostel dwellers, foreign strangers and people who pilgrimage through the darkness of actual and borderline mental illnesses. We see them all and it is desperately clear that the void is not being enabled or that they are even allowed to tell their stories and find their own sense of creativity. Feeding and housing the body is one thing and an essential start in the therapeutic process but, as a church, as a community, as a city, we can progress to provide some kind of nourishment for the soul, a sense of personal identity and dignity.”  

Martin Green, CEO and director at Hull 2017, said: “Hidden Voices is far more than a creative initiative. Most of the people who are homeless have a unique view on life and culture, and a creative core that has few avenues of expression. This project will be profoundly life-expanding for those involved. 

The first exhibition and soundscape will feature The Begging Door, an architectural feature of St Mary’s that forms the basis of a thought-provoking installation work and encourages people to consider the terminology of begging through viewing and game playing.

The work created by the project will evolve over the year and will be displayed in four exhibitions themed around Hull 2017’s seasons. The first exhibition will be held at St Mary’s Church, Lowgate, Hull, on the following dates:

Saturday 18 March: 4pm-6pm  

Tuesday 21 March: 11am-3pm 

Thursday 23 March: 11am-3pm 

Friday 24 March: 6pm-8pm 

Tuesday 28 March: 11am-3pm 

Thursday 30 March: 11am-3pm 

Friday 31 March: 6pm-8pm