Homelessness photography exhibition previews at William Booth College.
Before it moved to its current location in Liverpool, William Booth College hosted Quiet Room, Tony Mallon’s latest photography exhibition that he created in collaboration with The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre. Quiet Room consists of a series of archival and contemporary images that in conjunction provide a unique and thought-provoking perspective on Britain’s homelessness crisis.
Mallon is a Liverpool based photographic artist who focuses on people, places and communities to produce art that engages with social issues such as poverty, substance abuse and mental health problems. His prerogative to capture and draw public attention to these issues is explicit through this exhibition that conjoins past and present in capturing the ‘homeless spaces’ of Merseyside’s hostels. It builds upon Mallon’s prior project Homeless in 2015, which, in his own words, ‘moved beyond the human presence to explore, examine & document through photography & text, the spaces & experience of living in homeless hostels in Merseyside during 2014-15’. It was the product of this project that inspired him to collaborate with the Heritage Centre to create this artistic collection of contemporary photography and archival material.
The skilful coupling of the images that subtly complement one another in subject and spatially are what initially strikes you about this exhibition, but upon closer inspection the poignancy of these photographs comes from the stripped back sense of calm, immobility and bareness that they convey. The combination of contemporary images alongside the historic is especially thought-provoking as despite material modernisation, their startling spatial similarity forces you to acknowledge the stagnancy of these spaces. This critically illustrates the continuing crisis of homelessness in our communities through time. Many attendees of the William Booth College preview, which included fellow artists, salvationists, college staff and members of the public, echoed these sentiments, expressing feelings of sadness and contemplation invoked by the images. As a rare amalgamation of archival and modern photography that provides an emotive and pertinent insight into some of The Salvation Army’s most important charitable work, this exhibition is not one to be missed.
Quiet Room was at William Booth College from 17 May to 30 June 2018. It is now on display at the former George Henry Lee department store in Liverpool until 28 October as a part of the Independents Biennial festival of contemporary art 2018. #IB18
To discover more about the Heritage Centre’s photographic collections, Tony Mallon’s work or The Salvation Army’s homelessness services see the links below.
International Heritage Centre online catalogue: http://www.calmview.eu/SalvationArmy/CalmView/
Tony Mallon: @digitintherib.
Independents Biennial: @IndyBiennial
Homelessness services: https://ourhub.salvationarmy.org.uk/hsu/Pages/default.aspx