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Art exhibition paints poverty in new light

Art exhibition paints poverty in new light

Art exhibition paints poverty in new light

21 October 2021

Members of the Doorways and Moneycare community proudly show their paintings after participating in a workshop at Morley Corps, depicting what poverty means to them.

By Jessica Morris

What does poverty look like? An art exhibition at the Perth Mint is putting on display the ‘painted stories’ of people who have accessed The Salvation Army’s Moneycare and Doorways programs across Perth.

“Most people living in poverty don’t need it explained to them – but the wider community sometimes don’t understand how poverty feels and what it looks like it. So, we came up with this idea of asking Moneycare and Doorways community members to paint their experiences,” said Mandy Dehnel, Moneycare Manager for Western Australia.

In the lead-up to Anti-Poverty Week this week, Salvation Army corps and services worked side-by-side in Morley, Balga, Mandurah, Rockingham, Perth, and Swan View to set up community arts events. With the provision of canvases, paints, and brushes, Doorways and Moneycare community members were invited to paint their answer to the question, “What does poverty look like to you?”

This collaboration of Doorways, Moneycare, public relations and corps was organised by Mandy, Jenny Klarich (Regional Manager – North Doorways) and Bret Mulder (Regional Manager – South Doorways). They reached out to Morley Corps Officer and painter Captain Jo Brookshaw, who recorded an instructional video for clients that was shared at workshops across Perth. All up, it resulted in more than 50 compelling paintings, giving an insight into the reality of poverty.

“My experience of the workshop event at Morley Corps showed me how cathartic it was for people to express what poverty meant to their world. The journeys they had lived, and the way they had found hope and resilience on the way, were incredibly uplifting! Some of the artists expressed how much their relationship with The Salvation Army had brought support when it was needed most,” said Jo.

“The joy, compassion, care and encouragement shared in our workshop was a tangible experience of God’s kingdom at work. As the participants packed up and were leaving, one notably commented on their painting, ‘That was my life 10 years ago and I’m never going back!’. He left with a grin on his face and a skip in his step.”

A selection of paintings was chosen for the exhibition, which also includes photos of Moneycare and Doorways staff holding signs that break myths about poverty. The hope is these will start a conversation about poverty with the general public, highlighting the strength and tenacity of the artists and solidifying our commonalities.

“I believe as people see the artworks and read the accompanying stories, they will clearly see God’s hand at work – his hope and light brought to people in the midst of their struggles,” shared Jo. “I am immensely proud of the Salvo workers and volunteers who express this love day by day through our Doorways and Moneycare programs. Their impact on our local community is practically sharing the compassion of Jesus, day by day.”

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