As an artist and as a person Tara Kearns has always taken great pride in being from the Inner City. In recent years the city streets have changed from what she remembers growing up. High rise buildings have taken over the skyline along the Liffey and the streets have become more crowded than ever, but not with tourists and shoppers, with people living in doorways, tents and under cardboard shelters.
This image has become so ingrained into the everyday scenery of the city that we have become desensitised to it. People step over sleeping bags to enter high street shops, business owners push tents out of the way to open up each morning, whilst passers-by justify looking down on a person with an empty coffee cup at their feet by telling themselves “sure they’d only spend the money on drugs”. In reality there is no justification for it, these are people who are living on the streets who have families, who have stories, and who deserve empathy and access to their basic human rights.
The purpose of this project is to tell the stories of some of these people who have encountered homeless in order to raise awareness to try to educate others and break the harmful stigma that’s already in place regarding homelessness.
Other paintings in this series include the very scenes that we have become accustomed to seeing on the streets.
One such scene Tara frequently came across was outside the Bank of Ireland IFSC during the early months of the pandemic. She found it ironic that people had set up their tents and sleeping bags outside the branch of one of the very banks that is at the centre of the housing crisis.
Another is of Leinster House where a homeless man was found dead meters away from the government building last year. It is so important that the deaths which took place on our streets are not forgotten.