‘We just need a chance. We are more than addicts and beggars’: homeless in West London who ‘light up society’ with their art

Living on the cold, unforgiving streets of London is an experience that most people will never be able to relate to – but it is a harsh reality for many.

The Moses artist has had to live through this everyday for the last five years.

Instead of a symbol of struggle, he has become a beacon of hope on the streets of West London he calls home.

READ MORE: Four years homeless in London, but now off the streets – a man’s story of hope

‘I almost died out here’

“Three nights ago I almost died out here,” Moses told MyLondon, “I had to start a fire on the floor. I can not afford to care, I’m too cold. I do not care what people think, because it does not help me. ”

Despite the terrible circumstances he finds himself in, Moses is stuck on one thing.

“I refuse to beg,” he insists, “I have been homeless to and from for the past five years.”

According to Moses, the worst thing that can ever happen to a drug addict is to be homeless and discover begging.

‘Art is my release’

After battling and overcoming heroin addiction, Moses can relate to this from personal experience

“I have lost so much compared to what I used to look like,” he says, “People who once knew me look at me and think I’m dying.

“I was in and out of prison, and alcohol and drugs killed the pain. I thank God that I got art as a publication, and I change my life ”.

Moses makes art using pieces of wood he finds in scrap heaps
Moses makes art using pieces of wood he finds in scrap heaps

Last year, a study from St. ).

Instead of begging for money, Moses earns it. His distinctive style of chalk artwork made from plywood found in construction gardeners has caught the eye of Queensway residents.

Moses sells his art on the sidewalk and has been embraced by the community.

His most popular designs are original Nike sneakers. “Every design on these canvases is mine, they are original ideas. I think if I was in a conference room with Nike, they would love my ideas, and that’s so natural to me, ”he says.

Moses was one of seven children, and his parents could not afford expensive Nike trainers for him and his siblings. This would later inspire his artwork.

“Children are cruel, and I was often bullied a lot. I used to look at their coaches and draw them. “

‘Being homeless is antisocial behavior’

A sign that Moses made and asked passers-by to help him by buying his art

“Someone from the city council served me a piece of paper for antisocial behavior,” Moses recalls, “because apparently being homeless is antisocial behavior.

“They don’t want to say it exactly, so they label it with other things and say I’m blocking the way or defecating.”

While Moses has not always received a positive response for his art from authorities, he has always been embraced by the local community.

‘His art lights up the street’

One of the many amazing pieces Moses has produced while sleeping hard in west London
One of the many amazing pieces Moses has produced while sleeping hard in west London

Blessing Okoye, 54, has lived in the area for the past 10 years and is determined that the artist and his work are an asset to the community.

“He is such a nice man. He is really great with people, and the children in the area are so happy for him, ”she beams.

Blessing adds: “His art really lights up the street, and if the right person saw his work, I’m sure it would be in a gallery somewhere. It is special. ”

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Moses hopes his journey will inspire others homeless to be creative and eventually change their lives.

“I’m still trying to get out of the streets and hopefully show my artwork somewhere. Many homeless people are extremely skilled, but they just need a chance.

“We are more than drug addicts and beggars.”


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