January 15, 2020

How would you feel if you really looked at a homeless person?

Pam Scott, 58

As someone who tries not to ignore homeless people, I’m aware of how uncomfortable they make me feel. While feeling a desperate empathy and concern for them, I worry about their impression of me. This absurdity, combined with a concern over what others may think often stops me engaging. Worse than that, it prevents me from seeing. This claustrophobic composition was made after talking with Jamie in Glasgow. He told me I was the first ‘non-homeless’ who had spoken to him in weeks. He was, to my shame, interested in me, evoking yet more discomfort. We all want this issue to go away, but why pretend it’s not happening? Are we frightened? Helpless? Sickened? Ashamed? Whether irritated or even just embarrassed, we feel something. The answer to what that is could pave the beginnings of a kinder path forward. Using new techniques, burning and dirtying, I aimed for a striking contrast between having and not having. Designer labels highlight this. The fag end underfoot represents easily, carelessly stamping out a previous, relevant life. The Snake presents an urgent danger. The discussion should explore the emotions that cause us to make the decision to ignore who is at our feet.

Real Gone Kid, 2019Paper & found materials48cm x 48cm