Housing

David Holmes-Brown’s drawings express the humanity of rough sleeping

The artist’s stark pencil sketches aim to go beyond the facts and figures to show the human side of life on the streets

David Holmes Brown sketch

Joel – Totnes Street Market 11/12/18 9.00pm "Some kind person had just bought him some chips"

There have been a series of rough sleeping statistics released in the last few weeks – but David Holmes-Brown is keeping his focus on the human side of the UK’s homelessness story.

The Torbay artist has been chronicling the state of the rough sleeping situation in his town throughout the winter and The Big Issue has exclusively revealed them here.

While live homelessness table counts show that Torbay had 24 rough sleepers at the end of 2017, David insists that the numbers get in the way of the real story of the “surreal and frightening landscape” of surviving the winter while homeless.

“Facts and figures don’t express any humanity,” he told The Big Issue. “These lives have been derailed by a broad spectrum of incidents and accidents, poor choices or mental health difficulties, into a chaotic spiral of addiction or crippling anxiety. If we don’t know the story, we must avoid judgement.

“I’ll keep drawing and listening to the anonymous figure in the doorway and try to give them the dignity of an identity.”

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