The Homeless “Among You”: What Lisa Lesniak’s Compassionate Art Makes Visible


Artist Lisa Lesniak has created moving portraits of guests who grace our patio each Monday for the All Saints’ Monday Meal for the homeless. “In a community where surface appearance holds sway, your face draws me to you.”

 Once, I was driving through Beverly Hills with Lisa Lesniak and she waved to a handsome, well-dressed man in his twenties or so on a street corner.   The smile that crossed his face was beautiful, beatific, and also revealed some missing teeth.   Until that moment, in his designer clothes and in the gleam in his eye recognizing Lisa, I might have thought he was a hip actor, in Beverly Hills after a shoot.   He was a homeless man, from the shelter, walking, with pride and beauty, “Among You.”

Some artists have the gift to make us see what our own assumptions make invisible.   And then some activist-artists, like Lisa Lesniak, take that vision and transfer it back.  The person of the portrait is not just some “muse” but a real human being whose life can also be transformed by art.   In this case, Lesniak performs that work, taking couture bequeathed by those who have passed away in 90210, one of the wealthiest zipcodes in America, to those who live in poverty amid wealth.   It is an act of  “the tactility of contemplation.”   Lesniak says, “compassion resides in the in-taking from wherever you come.”   So it does.   And in the recognition of human dignity, beauty, pride, and expression revitalized in these remarkable portraits.
To read full article  

But we as Canadians are not without our own problems…  Our province of B.C. for last 8 years has lead Canada in having the highest level of child poverty,  and B.C. child poverty rate continues to climb.  If you simply Google ‘child poverty in Canada’ you will see too many articles… 

“Twenty years ago Canadian politicians pledged to eradicate child poverty, but today an abysmal one in ten kids in this country is growing up poor. We look at the consequences of that poverty and what needs to be done….”

Here is an interesting look at what canada has done, or not done over the last 20 years:  Child Poverty

Listen to the BCIT Documentary on child poverty in BC “BC Shame”

What is POVERTY?

  • Poverty is a condition in which a person or community is deprived of, or lacks the essentials for a minimum standard of well-being and life. Since poverty is understood in many senses,these essentials may be material resources such as food, safe drinking water, and shelter, or they may be social resources such as access to information, education, health care, social status, political power, or the opportunity to develop meaningful connections with other people in society.

How can we use this info and issue to make more JO students aware of what is going on in our own Country, Provence, City….School?   Anyone see an art project concerning child poverty?
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