Local art show gives dignity to the overlooked

In a large room where sunlight spills in from large windows, there stands a small shack.


Built of scrap metal, salvaged wood and paint rags, the structure is a replica of a shanty house. One can find this structure on the outskirts of many cities in developing nations. The “Shanty” is part of a larger ongoing art display, iDignity, at Wayne Presbyterian Church.


The images on display at the iDignity project are all connected to each other in some way. All the images seek to show the “dignity of invisible people in the U.S. and abroad.” Most images are of those who are poor, homeless and/or marginalized.


“Each and every person I have met has only fueled my propensity to defend the value and integrity of each person living on the street,” Photographer D. Giles Clasen wrote of his work. The art show was constructed to raise awareness of the reality of this type of life.


Homeless men on the street corner, Vietnam veterans bathing in the river and an amputee being cared for by a concerned citizen are some images present at the show. Though most of the show consists of photographs, there are a number of painted works on display. Watercolor and oil paint on canvas seems to be the most popular medium.


The “Shanty,” constructed by Stephen P. Thomson, stands little more than five feet high. It is a small structure with just enough room for one person to stand inside. Within, about 30 photographs hang from the structure, some of which feature people living in such dwellings.


The photography at iDignity is well-developed and touching. It is incredibly moving to see such real images of people who live in such a different world.


The iDignity project was created in conjunction with the organization BuildaBridge. In its mission statement, the organization attempts, “to show the dignity of those living in poverty through images that reflect hope, resilience, humor… joy, uprightness, pride, love and an inherent persistence to live life with self-respect.”


All artwork is for sale ranging anywhere from $75 to $300. The art show is ongoing at Wayne Presbyterian Church, located on Lancaster Avenue, through the month of October.


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