Lutheran Care has collaborated with Adelaide’s own acclaimed surrealist artist Andrew Baines and several high-profile South Australians for a new living art installation unveiled in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall on Saturday 28 January.
As part of the striking and thought-provoking installation, titled Behind the Guise of Homelessness, prominent South Australians from sport, government, business and community, were painted entirely in gold and positioned in Rundle Mall to represent a portrait of just some of the many faces of homelessness.
The installation featured:
- Erin Phillips – Port Adelaide AFLW captain, former Opals/WNBA basketball player and media personality
- Mark Soderstrom – Media personality, sports presenter and former SANFL footballer
- Nat Cook – SA Minister for Human Services and anti-violence advocate
- Uncle Mickey O’Brien – Kaurna and Narrunga leader
- Bruce Djite – Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia’s SA Division, former CEO of the Committee of Adelaide, former Socceroo and TV soccer analyst
- Heather Croall – Adelaide Fringe CEO, and
- Andrew Kay – Business SA CEO.
Andrew Baines is known for his surreal paintings featuring bolar-hatted figures, sausage dogs and cows, and live installations which have included hundreds of suited volunteers – among them some of the country’s top politicians – on beaches for photo shoots.
Behind the Guise of Homelessness aimed to raise the public consciousness of the emergency state of homelessness, challenge attitudes and stereotypes surrounding the growing issue and remind viewers there are complex reasons for homelessness and that it can, and does, happen to anyone.
Juxtaposed with the installation was an audio track including emotive music overlaid with some of the voices of people who have experienced homelessness or housing insecurity. Some digital ‘lived experience’ stories were also collected and shared as part of the project. You can read them here.
Andrew has been working on his idea for years, and approached Lutheran Care in 2022 to help him drive it. He is passionate about shining a light on homelessness and he knows how fast fortunes can change as he was close to losing everything in the Global Financial Crisis.
Through the installation, Andrew aimed to “share with our community the true stories of people experiencing homelessness, via a surreal human installation that will open your mind to how close it could be to being on your doorstep. Don’t ever think it can’t happen to you”.
Lutheran Care’s Chief Executive Officer, Rohan Feegrade says, “Lutheran Care is excited to partner with Andrew Baines for this important installation”.
“We hope to make it impossible for people to walk past the issue. We also want to break down stereotypes about homelessness. It can and does happen to anyone. The reasons people experience homelessness are many and varied and everyone’s experience is different.
“Rough sleeping can be part of the experience of homelessness for some people, and this can be a visible reminder of the issue with people congregating in public places to stay safe. There are complex challenges and situations that lead to street sleeping and huge health and wellbeing challenges for these people which our colleagues and partners in the Toward Home Alliance and in the broader homelessness service sector aim to help clients work through.
“However, homelessness is not only street sleeping. There is also a hidden homelessness issue, with a growing cohort of people moving into the homelessness service system for the first time after being forced to couch surf or stay in tents, caravan parks and motels because of the inability to find a rental or secure housing in the current market.
“With rising living costs and energy prices, a pressurised housing market and predicted economic headwinds, more and more people and families across the nation are living with housing insecurity and we expect to see the number of people experiencing homelessness to continue rising.
“Homelessness is solvable. We need a whole of community approach including government and corporate Australia, more focus on early intervention, and more affordable housing.
“The wonderful support and cross section of the talent involved in this project reflects this point exactly.”
Lutheran Care’s Executive Community Services, Susan Richards, says, “many of us are feeling the pinch of the current economic climate – the disparity between the increase in cost of living and wage growth along with this ultra-competitive real estate market”.
“It’s concerning that 85 per cent of people entering homelessness currently are new to the system.
“Demand for our Emergency Relief service (including food staples and everyday items) has increased by 260% over the last two years which is outrageous.
“Lutheran Care programs have a strong focus on client voice and meeting people where they are at right now. Our services include Financial Counselling, Family and Relationship Counselling, Positive Behaviour Support and Parenting programs – which all can provide people with strategies to improve their lives in the long term and can divert people from experiencing homelessness.
“Lutheran Care is a proud member of the Toward Home Alliance, and working together with our sector partners, offer a range of services for people at risk of homelessness whilst also supporting people with chronic, persistent homelessness in the Adelaide CBD, Southern Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills.”
For information about the Toward Home Alliance and to connect with homelessness services, please visit www.towardhome.org.au
To find out more about Behind the Guise of Homelessness and the reality of homelessness in South Australia, explore Lutheran Care’s services, support crisis relief with a donation, or enquire about corporate partnerships, please visit www.lutherancare.org.au/behind-the-guise/
Lutheran Care thanks Andrew Baines, our volunteer models, all of the behind-the-scenes helpers, Cabana Productions, Lima One Protection for their support with this event, and RSL Care and our Toward Home Alliance partner Sonder for connecting us with clients willing to share their experiences.