“Outrage”: Art speaks out on behalf of the homeless

by John Zangas

A moving work of art will lead the way during a march for the homeless in Washington, DC on October 26. A banner painted by artist Ray Voide aims to raise awareness of the ongoing social problem of homelessness in the nation’s Capital. Voide, an activist with Occupy DC, has painted about twenty wide-format banners illustrating different protest actions over the last year.

This one, entitled “Outrage,” took over 20 hours to complete. He calls the 4′ x 15′ creation “my favorite and best yet.”

The composition layers scenes with messages depicting the plight of the homeless in the District. A destitute mother cradles her baby, while the wall above them reads, “Housing is a Human Right.” A tear streams down a young girl’s cheek as she gazes over a stark metropolis of corporate buildings, lobby firms, and condominiums. And a child stares bleakly at viewers, the inscription on her torso daring them to “feel.”

“The DC government cut $7 million from its homeless budget this year,” said Voide. “That’s just not acceptable.”

Last year the District cut its homeless shelter capacity by fifty percent, from 300 units to 150. The budget for services to help the poor and homeless was slashed in spite of a $140 million operating surplus for fiscal year 2012.
The banner will accompany hundreds of homeless and activist marchers from Franklin Park to Freedom Plaza.

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