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UN director general to open London homeless project exhibition in Geneva

Press release   •   Sep 24, 2018 12:50 BST

A shoe-string-budget-run London homeless project will open an exhibition of photographs with Mr Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva on Monday 1 October.

Formerly homeless women from the Cafe Art disposable camera photography projects will open an exhibition of photographs titled Women Without Walls.

Women Without Walls - Photography Exhibition, in partnership with the UNECE, UN Geneva and Cafe Art, showcases photographs taken on disposable cameras from five projects for people affected by homelessness.

See the 20 exhibition photos here

Photographs are from photography projects with homeless and recently homeless women in London, Budapest, Sydney, New Orleans and Toronto.Three of the 20 photographers will be in Geneva at the opening event with the UN director general and also Ms Olga Algayerova, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

The photos come from the MyLondon Photo Project and partner "MyCity" projects in the other cities. In the UK Cafe Art has been helped by The Royal Photographic Society with support and photographic training since 2013. The annual MyLondon calendar is created after 100 cameras were given to women and men over five days. The resulting calendar is sold by the participants in the project in markets, like the Big Issue, creating an income.

This Women Without Walls: Photography Exhibition showcases photographs taken by women affected by homelessness from all over the world. The powerful images show what these women love about their cities, their friends and their families, whilst also highlighting their plight when they are homeless.

The UN describes the exhibition at illustrating the specific needs of women experiencing homelessness. "Hence, the exhibition clearly links Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls."

The opening reception will take place at 12:30 PM at the Passerelle, Building E, Palais des Nations on 1 October 2018 to celebrate World Habitat Day.

You can see these inspiring photographs from 1 - 12 October at the Passerelle, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

This exhibition is also the opening event of UNECE’s #UrbanWeek from 1-5 October 2018. Please see more information on Urban Week here:

MyLondon photographer to speak at opening event 

London photographer Geraldine Crimmins will speak at opening event and also on a panel discussing women and homelessness a few days later."

As a rough sleeper I was sexually assaulted, bullied, mugged and robbed. I would stay awake most nights and sleep during the day as it was dangerous for me to sleep alone in central London. Due to a mugging I ended up in hospital for six weeks.

"This led me into the system as I was in a wheelchair for a while and I was given temporary housing for four years and then social housing."I continued using drugs and my health worsened. Thankfully I was arrested and detoxed in prison. My head cleared and I decided to stay drug free. I got involved with Café Art volunteering and doing creative projects. This has resulted in becoming a professional artist. I feel creativity and volunteering is food for people who have been damaged by homeliness, addiction, mental health and economic hardship."

"I feel creativity and volunteering is food for people who have been damaged by homeliness, addiction, mental health and economic hardship."

Two other photographers will be at the opening exhibition along with several volunteer organisers from the mainly volunteer-run projects. Hope Magreff is frantically fundraising to go to Geneva from New Orleans with MyNew Orleans organiser Heather Milton and Bernadett Fekete is coming from the MyBudapest Photo Project

All of their photos, taken on donated Fujifilm QuickSnap film cameras, appeared in calendars which were sold by people affected by homelessness in their cities.

See the 20 exhibition photos here

CAFÉ ART connects people affected by homelessness with the wider community through art. We hang artwork created in art groups run by homelessness sector organisations and hang it in independent cafes in London. We also run photography contests with disposable Fujifilm cameras. 

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