Art installation marks deaths of homeless in Brighton and Hove
But one artist wants to make sure their lives are not forgotten – with an installation aiming to raise awareness of just how vulnerable homeless people are.
Lewes-based artist and sculptor Dinah Lee Morgan brought her installation Brighton 2018-2019: In Memory of Our Dead Homeless to Jubilee Square on Monday – a set of painted pillows laid out like tombstones for passers-by to pay their respects.
The pillows each display a different face of the 20 homeless people who have died over the last year including Andrew O’Connell, a much-loved grandfather who was killed in the Royal Pavilion Gardens last August, aged 54.
Ms Morgan, who is based in Lewes, said: “I find it so shocking – it’s important to recognise that this happens and remember what a tragedy it is.
“There’s so many homeless people in Brighton, yet not enough spaces in the shelters; if you’re drunk and on drugs they won’t let you in.”
The artist typically specialises in landscapes, animals and portraits focused on capturing meaning and vitality.
However, when she learned of the shocking mortality figures among the homeless, she was moved to do something a little different, with hopes that it will do some work towards reviving the conversation surrounding support for the homeless.
She said: “I think we need a complete change in policy. The role of the government in my view is to look after the vulnerable – and the homeless are among the most vulnerable of them all.”
Figures from the Office of National Statistics state the leading causes of death among the homeless are accidental (including drug-related deaths), suicide, liver disease, and heart and lung disease.