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Café Art

Housing and Homelessness Programme / Partner story

Photo: © James Robson

Café Art, a London-based organisation, has the vision that formerly homeless people will be empowered through their art and actively involved in a social enterprise. The artists whose photos are below received 50 per cent of the fee Oak paid for their use. Café Art connects people in London affected by homelessness with the wider community through their art. This work falls under Oak’s Housing and Homelessness Programme strategy of preventing homelessness, read more about it here. Please read the explanations of the artists who shared their stories with Café Art.

Photo: © Michelle Goldberg

Michelle asked her friend to take this shot of herself walking in front of Julian Opie’s Citizen M mural at Tower Hill Station, London. M stands for “mobility”. Michelle has a long-term medical condition and lives in temporary accommodation. She says, “I’m a Londoner. I was born here. My family have been here four generations, possibly five. My grandparents were in the markets.”

Photo: © Maya

Born in London, Maya loves her home city and enjoys photographing it. This shot was taken in Shoreditch, one of Maya’s favourite parts of the city. “I’m always there. My model is Jonathan, the son of two of my best friends. He’s five years old. It’s such a sweet age: full of curiosity and still so innocent.”

Photo: © Ella Sullivan

Born in London, Ella Sullivan grew up in County Kerry, Ireland. She returned to London over 20 years ago and now lives in Islington. She is currently being supported by a homelessness organisation that also provides art classes. She says, “I was in New Bond Street when I happened to notice this love heart bike stand and thought it would make a great picture as it was giving out a message of love and providing a safe place to lock up your bike.”

Photo: © Desmond Henry

Desmond was born in Northamptonshire and grew up in the West Indies. Desmond says he has seen the number of people sleeping rough rise in recent years. He took this image of a woman taking a coffee break in front of a mural by Brazilian street artists Cranio, Bailon and Sliks, near the Pritchard’s Road Day Centre, Hackney. He says, ‘I was very lucky, it was as if God sent her.’

Photo: © Mia Lyons

Mia is originally from Hamburg, Germany and has lived in London for six years. Mia took this photo in a car repair garage just off Truro Road, Palmers Green, London. “Maybe it’s a bit too deep but I thought about consumerism and how much we throw away and use and that we have to become more kind as a society and kinder to the earth that we live from. But now we know and we can change our behaviour – it’s nothing negative – it’s just making people more aware.”

Source: Oak Foundation’s Annual Report 2018